CLEVELAND — At the end of the 2021 MLB season, the Cleveland Indians will change their name to the Cleveland Guardians. For one 96-year-old Ohio woman, seeing the team play under their old name one last time at home was on her bucket list.
Saturday, she was able to cross that item off.
"I can't wait until I get upstairs in my wheelchair and sit there!" Vernice Evancho said.
Evancho considers herself a member of the Tribe.
"She loves the Indians; she loves them. Her and my dad have watched them forever," said Charlotte Evancho, Vernice's daughter.
So, in turn, the entire Evancho family became members of the Tribe. It's stayed that way for generations, even after Mike Evancho, Vernice's husband, died in 1997.
Saturday, the family made the trip downtown for one of the team's last home games as the Indians.
"I wanted to bring her down here to get her pictures taken, and we told a couple people about it, and they went, and they really surprised us, gave us the shocker of our lives," Charlotte Evancho said.
Vernice Evancho has dementia. Her daughter cares for her full-time with help from the palliative care services team at the Hospice of the Western Reserve.
Vernice Evancho's social worker heard about the bucket list and referred her to the agency's wish "Moments to Remember" program, which focuses on enhancing the quality of life for hospice patients by giving them the opportunity to see a special request or wish come true.
They made Vernice's wish come true in just about a week's time.
"Well, I'm not gonna lie, I thought they were joking. And they said, 'No, this is it!'" Charlotte Evancho said.
The agency didn't just come through with tickets; an anonymous donor hooked up the entire Evancho family with a suite right behind home plate.
"Oh, they're winning tonight, I know it! My feet are getting hot!" Vernice Evancho said.
Vernice's daughter, grandchildren, and one of her great-grandchildren joined her in the suite. The gift is just what they all needed after a tough year.
"I had some heart surgery done. And we've had some family issues, my son was diagnosed with some cancer, and he's done. He's good," Charlotte Evancho said.
All of that has made them all realize even more just how important family is and want to cherish theirs now more than ever.
"Every family has issues. But it's great to be able to pull the families together and do things, you know? And this is a blessing, and it's fantastic," Charlotte Evancho said.
Vernice proved to be a good luck charm for the Tribe, who defeated the Chicago White Sox 6-0 on Saturday.
This story was originally published by Jade Jarvis on Scripps station WEWS in Cleveland.