Chicago Cubs star player creates two endowed funds at Children’s Hospital

  • Published in Sports

Some professional athletes spend their money on luxury homes, cars, and vacations, but the Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo thought of something better.  Rizzo announced a $3.5 million commitment to create two endowed funds at a children’s hospital in Chicago.  One fund will provide grants on a case-by-case basis for families facing financial hardship due to unexpected needs resulting from a child’s treatment for cancer.  The other fund will provide ongoing support for two oncology Child Life specialists.

Over 300 newly diagnosed patients with a wide range of childhood cancers are treated every year at Lurie Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Because Rizzo’s gift is being made in the form of endowments, these resources will be available for patients and families for generations to come.  The 18th floor waiting room will now be named the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation Waiting Room.

Rizzo visits the Chicago hospital every month to inspire patients battling cancer with his motto, “Stay Strong, Dream Big.”  “As a survivor of cancer myself, I know the emotional and financial strain the diagnosis of cancer can put on a family,” Rizzo said in announcing the multi-million dollar donation.  With regard to the first endowed fund, he explained, “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.”  The second endowed fund, for Child Life specialists, is part of an innovative program aimed at reducing anxiety and normalizing the hospital experience for both patients and families.


Go Cubs and Go Rizzo!


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“Helping sick kids feel better one smile at a time.” What a wonderful resolution!

Kayla Abramowitz, the Founder and CKO (Chief Kid Officer) of Kayla Cares 4 Kids, herself has Crohn’s disease and juvenile arthritis.  At 11 years old, after extended hospital stays of her own, she wondered what she could do to help other kids.  She was too young to volunteer in children’s hospitals, but she wasn’t too young to start collecting entertainment and educational items to donate to children’s hospitals.  Her initial goal was to collect 100 DVDs to donate to a children’s hospital in her home town.  A newspaper article went viral, and now, three years later, her non-profit organization has collected and donated over 12,000 items.  Her current goal is to deliver DVDs, books, and toys to every children’s hospital in the country.

 As one nurse manager of a pediatrics intensive care unit put it: “We are thrilled that Kayla Cares 4 Kids found us!  No child likes to be in the hospital, so it is important to do whatever we can to make their stay in the hospital a little more enjoyable.  It also makes the nurses happy to be able to provide diversion activities for the kids while they are hospitalized.”  In Kayla’s words: “I can’t believe I’m able to make such a difference in kids’ lives while they’re staying in the hospital.  I think it means the world to them, and I know it means the world to me.”

 When delivering donations to hospitals, Kayla is joined by her mother, father, and two brothers.  “Some people go to the beach on a holiday, but we go to a hospital to deliver items, and it makes us all feel good,” said Kayla’s father. “To know that you’re helping someone else when they’re going through something that we can relate to ourselves, well that makes a difference.” 

 Kayla Abramowitz was named the National Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Go Kayla!  Hopefully Kayla not only wins our hearts, but inspires us all towards thoughtful acts of kindness towards those less fortunate than ourselves.

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