BUCKTOWN — Cohen Garcia might be the nation's only 6-month-old with a beer named after him.
Cohen's dad, Ryan Garcia, runs the nonprofit State of Kind, which is teaming with Bucktown's Pipeworks Brewing Co. to create Cohen's State of Kind — a beer that will be released in mid-June in honor of Cohen, who has a rare genetic disorder called "22q11.2 deletion syndrome."
"It's just so cool that they wanted to do this and were open to doing it," said Garcia, 32, of Bucktown.
Justin Breen explains how a local brewer is helping raise awareness about a disorder that affects children and money to find a cure for it:
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the beer will go to the Dempster Family Foundation, led by former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, whose daughter Riley also has the syndrome — caused by the deletion of a small piece of a chromosome. The money will be used to find a cure for the syndrome and boost awareness of it.
"The Dempster Family Foundation is pleased to partner with Pipeworks Brewing Co. and fellow 22q dad, Ryan Garcia, in their efforts to raise awareness for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome," said Dempster, who pitched for the Cubs from 2004-12 and is currently on the Boston Red Sox roster but is sitting out the season for health reasons.
"We hope that through this partnership and special event, more people will learn about this complicated syndrome and will join us in our efforts to spread the word about 22q," Dempster said in an email.
Some of the most commonly recognized health issues for newborns and children with the syndrome include growth delays, feeding problems, congenital heart disease and gastrointestinal difficulties, according to Mary Dosek of the Dempster Family Foundation. Cohen has a heart defect, is on oxygen around the clock and has a feeding tube, Garcia said.
Garcia and his wife, Lindsey, discovered Cohen had 22q syndrome during his 20-week ultrasound. Garcia contacted the Dempster Family Foundation well before Cohen was born on Nov. 29, 2013, to see how he could help raise awareness about the syndrome.
"Ryan is an inspiration, and his enthusiasm for the cause is contagious," said Dosek, a DePaul University graduate.
Garcia has been driven to do good deeds since the birth of his 2½-year-old daughter, Isla, who is healthy. He founded State of Kind on Dec. 31, 2011, as a way to participate in random acts of kindness — like giving out free hugs on street corners — for every day of 2012.
Garcia has expanded that mission to execute one good feat in every state this year. The one for Illinois will be the beer partnership with Pipeworks, 1675 N. Western Ave., which is blocks from his home. Several months ago, he reached out to the brewery to see if it could create Cohen's beer.
"It's hilarious to me that it's a beer about a baby," said Garcia, a senior sales representative at ZocDoc.
Cohen's beer is a Belgian-style Witbier brewed with hibiscus, chamomile and blueberries, according to Michael Schallau, operations manager and "master of barrels" at Pipeworks Brewing. Schallau, of Lincoln Square, said the beer is 8.5 percent alcohol by volume, and the brewery is making about 150 12-packs of 22-ounce bottles.
"The most exciting part of the project is using our skill set and expertise to positively affect the lives of other people," Schallau said. "You don't often get that chance as a small brewery, and we are thankful that Ryan [Garcia] gave us this opportunity."
Tickets for July 12's fundraiser are $75 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday. For more information, click here or call 312-835-1082.