Chicago Cubs‘ first baseman Anthony Rizzo is already a hometown hero, having played a major role in last year’s historic World Series win. But now he’s bringing more than the Commissioner’s Trophy to Chicago. Rizzo recently announced he’ll be donating $3.5 million to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, a donation that will provide assistance for families of children with cancer struggling to cover the high costs of treatment. Rizzo’s donation will allow them to staff two oncologists who will “reduce anxiety and normalize the hospital experience for both patients and families.”
Rizzo understands the financial strain that comes with cancer treatment. As an 18-year-old minor leaguer, he was treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“As a survivor of cancer myself, I know the emotional and financial strain the diagnosis of cancer can put on a family,” said Rizzo. “I believe that an individual does not battle cancer alone, his or her entire family does. That’s why we’ve designated this money to go directly to help families on the front lines.”
Lurie is one of the top children’s hospitals in the country, treating more than 100,000 kids each year and was featured in the 2016-17 U.S. News & World Report‘s Best Children’s Hospitals. Last summer, the American College of Surgeons designated Lurie as the first children’s hospital in Illinois to be named a level 1 pediatric surgery center. To thank Rizzo for his largesse, Lurie will be renaming their 18th-floor waiting room in his honor.
An estimated 10,380 children in the U.S. under the age of 15 were diagnosed with cancer last year, but thanks to major treatment advances over the last decade — fueled by the generosity of people like Rizzo — more than 80 percent of children with cancer are now surviving five years or more.