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Heartbreaking story of Landon Powell's daughter Izzy

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Powell during his time with the Athletics. (USATSI)

As a baseball player, Landon Powell has had a relatively nondescript big-league career outside of being a first-round pick back in 2004. The catcher owns a 66 OPS+ in 123 career games, all with the Athletics, and this spring he is in camp trying to win a job with the Mets.

As a father, Landon Powell has had endure unspeakable heartbreak, unspeakable until now. The 30-year-old opened up to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News about his infant daughter Isabel, who was born in September with a rare disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis , or HLH. Izzy passed away on Jan. 25.

There's no way to describe the story other than heartbreaking. Martino details Izzy's life from before she was born -- her first heartbeat didn't show up until week 12 of mom Allyson's pregnancy with twin sister Elle -- through her treatment in Cincinnati. She endured 70 blood transfusions, 14 surgeries and eight weeks of chemotherapy. "We prayed for God to heal her, and he did heal her -- just not in the way we thought," said Powell.

Only eight or nine of the 400,000 babies born in the U.S. each year are affected by HLH, a disease that leads to an aggressive immune system that attacks healthy cells and essentially kills from the inside out. Little Izzy became an organ donor, and the Powells founded Donors on the Diamond to raise money and awareness for organ donation. Click here for their website after you finish reading Martino's story.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook. Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: @MattSnyder27, @daynperry and @mikeaxisa.

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