Young cancer patient has spirits lifted by major leaguers

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There are a lot of reasons to root for the Cubs as they head to the wild card game tomorrow night. But one may be the off-the-field activity that shows the true spirit of players and their impact on fans.

A young cancer patient at Lurie Children’s has had the chance to meet some of his favorite major leaguers over the course of his treatment for a brain tumor.

And just about once a month, Anthony Rizzo comes by. Most times he shows up on the oncology floor without an entourage or much fanfare.

“He’s really cool.  He’s really nice,” Aleks says. “He gave me a blanket. I have a feeling he understands me in a way.”

That’s because right when Anthony Rizzo was drafted into professional baseball as a high school senior, he was diagnosed with cancer. He knows the battle and the victory.

“He asked me to sign his jersey and he wore it around and asked other kids to sign his jersey. Not everyone goes around saying, ‘Sign my jersey,’ right?”

One former Sox player put his own autograph on his jersey, then gave Aleks the shirt off his back.

“I’m a really big fan of Adam Dunn. It was really touching. I didn’t think he was going to give me it,” Aleks said.

Anthony Rizzo started a family foundation that funds cancer research and provides support to children and their families battling the disease. To learn more, check out www.rizzo44.com