Long time Wrigley usher attends ring ceremony thanks to hospital staff’s extra efforts

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CHICAGO - A Navy veteran waited nearly 90 years to see the Cubs win the World Series. As an usher at Wrigley Field for the last two decades, Don Vlcek was overjoyed and proud at the chance to wear a World Series ring.

Don is also a proud father of four, grandfather to five and great grandfather to 12. But also up there in his lifelong experiences is his World Series ring that he almost didn't get.

At 88, Don almost didn't make it to accept his World Series ring.

A few weeks back, Don was having chest pains. Upon arrival at Advocate Lutheran General, the medical professionals here quickly determined he wouldn't have lasted another hour.

His heart was shocked back to normal rhythm but he also needed a procedure to put in a defibrillator and pacemaker. That procedure was scheduled for the same day he was to receive his World Series ring.

Don begged his nurses and doctors to speed up the procedure so he could go to Wrigley.

Dr. Ray Kawasaki and Don’s care team came in Saturday, their day off, to run tests and make it happen.

For their part Don’s medical team is delighted things work out the way they did.

Nurse Toni Bartels is a fellow Cub fan.

“This is why I'm a nurse,” she said. “It's important to do nice things for nice people.”

Dr Kawasaki says it's the least he could do for a fellow Cub fan.

Don actually saw the Cubs play in the 1945 World Series and he paid 60 cents for his ticket.

His prognosis is so good that's he's ready to work another season and perhaps see another World Series championship and the next ring that will go with it.



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