WRIGLEYVILLE — Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has made yet another hefty donation supporting cancer treatment and research via the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, this time making a $650,000 pledge to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Health System.
Rizzo was treated for lymphoma at Sylvester in 2008. With this latest pledge, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation has donated nearly $1 million to Sylvester.
Most of the money — $500,000 — will be used to create The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation Hope 44 Program, which will assist children and young adults with cancer by providing one-on-one counseling and other support for patients and families. The program is named for Rizzo's jersey number.
The remaining $150,000 will go toward the Pathogenesis of Lymphoma fund to support Dr. Izidore Lossos, director of Sylvester's lymphoma program, and his research.
Lossos' focus is on studies of lymphoma, with a primary interest in understanding the mechanisms of lymphoma pathogenesis, identification of aberrant signaling pathways and identification of novel genes that may have a unique role in this disease.
"I am proud to support the University of Miami and the incredible work they are doing to find a cure for cancer," Rizzo said. "Sylvester will always have a special place in my heart, and I am honored to be able to give back and create the Hope 44 program there to ensure every family has a fighting chance."
Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma — in which cancers start in white blood cells called lymphocytes — in 2008, when he was 18 years old. He went through six months of chemotherapy at Sylvester, which led to remission.
Rizzo's experience with Sylvester and the medical team that helped him, led by Lossos, inspired him to give back to cancer patients and their families.
Rizzo and his family created the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012 with the goal of raising money for cancer research and to provide support to patients and their families.
Two years later, Sylvester named a waiting room for Rizzo, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation Hematology Oncology Waiting Room, after his foundation gave a $250,000 gift.
"The donation is wonderful," said Lossos. "But for me, the most important fact is that I first saw Anthony as a teen who was most probably not going to have a chance to play. Now he is playing, and that is a pleasure to see."
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