By Hank McCoy
September has been proclaimed “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month” by the Coral Springs City Commission, and Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo says there’s still a lack of funding for pediatric cancer.
Rizzo said that Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is extremely important to him. He was one of those children, and his family was a “Cancer Family.” They know just how frightening it can be for a child, and with the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, they try to help families that are going through such a difficult time.
Rizzo, who grew up in Parkland and is a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was 18 and just beginning his career as a professional baseball player in Greenville, SC, when he was confronted with a terrifying dose of reality. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and would need to start six months of chemotherapy immediately.
With six weeks still left of treatment, on September 2, 2008, he would hear from his doctor the news his family had been praying for; he was in remission.
In 2012, Rizzo and his family founded the Foundation. Because of his experience, he’s acutely aware of the stakes when it comes to childhood cancers.
“Only 4% of the cancer research budget goes to finding a cure and to find better treatments for childhood cancers. We need to do better for these kids,” Rizzo said.
The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation’s annual Walk-Off for Cancer event held in Parkland will be virtual this November.
“Our next event is the Virtual Walk-Off for Cancer. I’m excited because people can participate from anywhere,” Rizzo said, “We’re sending out shirts and masks to everyone who registers, and you can walk anytime the week of November 9.”
On September 2, during the city commission meeting, Vice Mayor Joy Carter spoke on the importance of making September a month to rally the city’s support around fighting childhood cancers.
Carter said cancer is a disease that affects everyone regardless of economic status, age, or race, and the city took time out of the meeting to mark September as a month of awareness.
“It’s a time that we honor and remember children and families affected by the rare disease of cancer.”
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