By Bruce Levine–
(CBS) Friday marked the eight-year anniversary of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo learning his cancer was in remission.
Since that time, Rizzo in 2012 started the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which provides time, money and assistance to help find a cure for many forms of cancer.
“This is about how my parents raised me and my brother,” Rizzo said. “They taught us to put other people first.”
The 27-year-old Rizzo has given back with time, money and loving care after beating the dreaded disease himself. In 2008, he spent six months undergoing chemotherapy in a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He found out on Sept. 2, 2008 that he was in remission.
Rizzo and his family foundation have raised $2 million in the battle to cure and fight cancer, and they’re out and about in the daily fight to help many, notably youngsters.
“This is all made possible by the platform we have as baseball players,” Rizzo said. “My appreciation is that people recognize it and help out.”
The emotion and sympathy that Rizzo expresses is based on personal experience and his caring for people in general.
“Sometimes I put myself directly in it,” Rizzo said. “It impacts me case by case. A lot of these kids are a lot younger. Sometimes I will meet 16-, 17-year-old people, college students, and that hits me right in the head. It is tough because they are going to school and their dreams are to do this and that. They are sick, going through treatments, in many cases way more than I did. I just try to give them positive reinforcement and let them know there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
The supportive Cubs organization, led by the Ricketts family, are trend-setters in charity and community support programs, Rizzo said.
“This is what Mr. Ricketts preaches to us every spring training when he talks to the team,” Rizzo said. “He says if you want to go out and do charitable stuff, the Cubs will be there to support you. It does not matter who you are. They are ready to work. The Cub charities do an unbelievable job helping out, being a great support system.”
Just this week, a local family expressed its gratitude for Rizzo’s foundation donating $2,500 and extending encouragement to a child fighting cancer.
You can support Rizzo’s foundation and its fight here. You can also follow it on Twitter @RizzoFoundation for more information.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.