Munira Premji

My Mum has many loves in life – her husband of 30 years, Dairymilk Wholenut chocolate, trips to Florida and most recently, avocados in a bag (don’t ask!).  But above all else, she has an unrelenting, unwavering, unquestionable love for her Toronto Blue Jays.  Impossible as it may seem, that love hit an all-time high on Wednesday.

After 3 days of up-and-down temperatures, followed by consistent spells of fever and fatigue, my Mum finally agreed to be taken to the Emergency Room.  In almost auto-pilot fashion, we packed her bag, reached Toronto General Hospital and made our way through the familiar routes of triage and registration.

As we were settling into our room in Emergency, we heard the most awful noise coming from the room next door.  An older man had been brought in by paramedics and was screaming in pain.  He did not speak any English and the nurses were having trouble deciphering his requests between muffled cries.  Shortly after, a younger gentleman passed our open door into the older man’s room.  Mum and I looked at each other in disbelief:


That couldn’t be?

Could it?

Was that really him?


Our suspicions were confirmed when we overheard a doctor enter our neighbour’s room introducing himself as the doctor for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Edwin Encarnacion – the Jays’ first basemen and homerun-hitter extraordinaire – was less ten steps away from us.  Swoon.

Star-struck and slightly dazed, my Mum’s fever was put on the back-burner and we began deliberating on a plan of attack.  Mum saw this as a sign of incredible fortune and was convinced we needed to profess our love for him…or at least say hello.  I wanted to err on the side of caution and not bother Edwin (clearly, we were on a first name basis now) – after all, he was looking after his father in Emergency.  Nevertheless, for a solid half hour, we forgot about fevers and cancers and strategized a master plan.  We thought about buying ourselves Lettieri’s infamous hot chocolates – and maybe slipping one in his room with our number on it.  The cleaning lady surreptitiously left her mop and bucket in the hallway, and though I am not domesticated by any means, the thought crossed our minds to do a little cleaning in our neighbours’ room.  We even flirted with the idea of walking through the door separating our two rooms and ‘accidently’ stumbling across Edwin Encarnacion – with our best looks of surprise, of course.  We shamefully googled his latest stats and pick-up lines in Spanish just in case an opportunity presented itself to use them.

Alas, the nurse ordered some tests and my Mum grudgingly complied.  As we made our way back, standing outside our room in fine flesh was the dashing, 29-year old Dominican heartthrob on his cell phone.  Urine bottle in one hand and my hand in the other, my Mum mouthed to the first basemen “You’re Edwin Encarnacion, right?”.   He acknowledged with a nod, but was clearly a bit pre-occupied.  It was but a few moments later when my Mum called his name as he walked by, and he came into our room.  She told him we watched every Jays game, and how much we adore him, and how we love when he comes up to bat, and how he was robbed of an All-Star Game spot, and then again, how much we love him, and then a few ‘oh my gods’, followed by prayers for his dad to get better soon.  I stared.  Perhaps a bit too longingly.  Edwin was incredibly gracious (…and incredibly gorgeous) and said thank you a number of times before leaving the room.  He acknowledged us with a wave the next time he passed by, and I wished him a good game that night when he walked past me in the hall to leave the hospital.  He did in fact have two hits on Wednesday’s game against the Royals and made a fantastic diving catch at first – which we take a little bit of credit for given the stream of compliments Mum threw his way.

My Mum is still in hospital with a case of low hemoglobin and neutrophil counts, but since laying her eyes on the great Edwin Encarnacion, she has yet to have a fever.  Lesson learned: the best cure for febrile neutropenia is meeting a superstar celeb!

– Sabrina


  • […] Blue Jays player.  (ICYMI, here’s my interaction with Edwin at Toronto General Hospital: Click here.)  Jose Reyes has quite the pre-game workout ritual.  Justin Smoak is a tall presence at first […]

  • Cindy Choleras , August 19, 2012

    Sabrina – you are truly gifted (just like your Mom of course)!! This blog had me in stitches as I pictured the two of you with mouths drooling over our dear Edwin. As a mother of a daughter close to your age, I can say that your Mom is truly blessed to have had you by her side throughout this journey and I thank both of you for your ability to create joy & laughter for others in the midst of temperatures, fevers, fatigue, chemo treatments & uncertainty. May God continue to bless your entire family.

  • Wil Porter , July 11, 2012

    Hi Munira…I only learned of your illness yesterday and I am sending all my love and prayers to you. I have no doubt this is just a small bump on the road of life. Keep that wonderful smile on your face.

  • Anonymous , July 10, 2012

    keep the high spirit and may you find lots of happiness in this service

  • Lucy , July 10, 2012

    Quite interesting and inspiring. Wishing the whole family lots and lots of favors from God. Be encouraged.

  • Lucy , July 10, 2012

    A great read and a great message Sabrina on figures which motivates us. Thanks to Edwin Encarnacion for brightening your mum day and fever and oh thanks to Munira for playing the similar role now to brighten other people’s day and condition. I pray today is even better day than yesterday for the whole family!

  • Rozina mehdi , July 8, 2012

    Go girl Go you are a fighter. Our prayers are with you. Love you and your smile.

  • Anonymous , July 6, 2012

    No picture or autograph?

  • Anonymous , July 6, 2012

    Well, shoot! Who knew? Let’s keep those gorgeous athletes coming and going outside Munira’s door! Wonderful story, Sabrina. Your sense of humor and play is matched by your wonderful ability to spin a yarn. Thanks so much for sharing; love to all. BJ

  • Faiz Habib , July 6, 2012

    Thats Awesome Ahaa!

  • Julie , July 6, 2012

    What a great story! I am with Suzanne on the way to D’Arcy’s cottage and I read it out loud. I can just imagine the smile on your mom’s face 🙂

  • Parin Sunderji , July 6, 2012

    Has anyone in the Premji family considered writing as a career? All of you are great writers. You have a way with words. This last blog from Sabrina was really entertaining! I can just picture the whole episode – quite comical yet touching when you think about it.

  • Jehan , July 6, 2012

    amazing 😀

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