Knocking Cancer Out of the Park With the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation

Knocking Cancer Out of the Park With the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation

Mr. Rizzo (left) meets with at least two or three children and their families at Wrigley Field during each homestand.

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Mr. Rizzo (left) meets with at least two or three children and their families at Wrigley Field during each homestand.
Cancer affects everyone, and the impact of the disease extends beyond the patient to family members and friends. Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo realized this when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a teenager and saw the impact that it had on his entire family. Mr. Rizzo underwent 4 months of chemotherapy treatment before going into remission. Motivated by his desire to help other families struggling with the financial and emotional burdens that accompany a cancer diagnosis, Mr. Rizzo founded the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012 to raise money to support families fighting cancer and for cancer research. Mr. Rizzo believes that an individual does not battle cancer alone, but that the whole family battles it together.

The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation is focused on helping families with different stress points—from help with electrical bills to car payments—enabling the family to focus on the child and their needs throughout treatment. The Foundation also supports a family life specialist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, who helps families cope with the diagnosis along with helping the child understand different procedures through therapeutic play opportunities. Other initiatives include supporting Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, an organization that delivers “Bear Hugs”—customized experiences that brighten the life of a child with cancer—to families with children battling cancer and supporting the Family Reach Foundation, an organization that helps families who are struggling financially because of a cancer diagnosis.

Signature events, such as the Cook-Off for Cancer, the Laugh-Off for Cancer, and the Walk-Off for Cancer, are very important to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. They allow Cubs fans to show support for the Foundation and raise critical funds that are used to help knock cancer out of the park. The Walk-Off, in particular, is very special to Mr. Rizzo because it takes place in his hometown of Parkland, Florida. During the first year of the event, the Foundation hoped to raise $30,000, but more than 1,000 people participated, which ended up raising more than $100,000. This year, the Foundation has also launched the Home Run Challenge using social media, where supporters have committed to make a donation for every home run Mr. Rizzo hits this season.

Mr. Rizzo founded the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012 to raise money to support families fighting cancer and for cancer research.

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Mr. Rizzo founded the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012 to raise money to support families fighting cancer and for cancer research.
Mr. Rizzo most enjoys bringing smiles to the faces of children and families who are affected by cancer. Every homestand, he meets with at least two or three children and their families at Wrigley Field. The children have an opportunity to come down to the field early, watch batting practice, and meet with Mr. Rizzo.

“We really focus on trying to help the entire family through the process and make sure that they can focus on the most important thing: beating cancer,” Mr. Rizzo said.

There are many ways for ASCO members and others to get involved with the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation through the Walk-Off, the Cook-Off, and the Laugh-Off, or the Home Run Challenge.

The Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO continues to enjoy a successful partnership with Anthony’s team, the Chicago Cubs, working together to take down cancer. On June 1, the Conquer Cancer Foundation and the Chicago Cubs are hosting Conquer Cancer Day at Wrigley Field, which promises to be an exciting event. The first 5,000 bleacher fans will receive a special Cubs/Conquer Cancer Foundation hat.