#Cubs Rizzo Walk Off for Cancer raises $200,000
Rain held off Sunday morning for the fourth annual Anthony Rizzo “Walk Off for Cancer” at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fla., with the event raising more than $200,000 for pediatric cancer research and to provide support to children and their families battling the disease.
With Sunday’s event, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation now has raised more than $1 million. The first Walk Off — a 5K walk around the tree-lined park in Rizzo’s hometown — was the inaugural event for the foundation.
“Four years later, $1 million later — we couldn’t have pictured this,” Rizzo said.
The Cubs’ first baseman knows first-hand the importance of helping families. Rizzo was diagnosed with limited state classical Hodgkins lymphoma in April 2008 while a Minor Leaguer in the Red Sox organization. Now 26, Rizzo is a two-time All-Star and was in the mix for the Most Valuable Player Award this season after batting .278 and hitting 31 homers, 38 doubles and driving in 101 runs.
Rizzo’s message to the children he meets in his regular hospital visits is that if he can beat cancer, so can they.
“The big thing is Anthony’s setting an example, he’s saying, ‘I was there, I know what it’s like to be sick and I want to support the kids who are sick now,'” said Don Eachus, director of development at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. “He understands what it was like — he was there. He knows what it’s like to be a patient. He remembers, because he was older at the time, what his parents went through. He wants to make it as good as it can be for the children locally.”