In the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, the Boston Red Sox used their sixth-round draft choice to select a 17-year-old first baseman. Anthony Rizzo decided to forgo college at Florida Atlantic University and join the minor league system of the Red Sox.
In the spring of 2008, while playing in the Red Sox minor league system, Rizzo felt worn down. This was new for Anthony, though it was the first time he was playing baseball every day. He chalked it up to that. After a road trip, Rizzo returned home to realized that he had gained 15 pounds almost overnight. His legs swelling so badly that he had to stuff his ankles into his cleats. Anthony then went to speak to the team’s trainer. From there he was sent to Boston for further testing. Originally thought to be a kidney infection, Rizzo was shocked to learn that he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a type of cancer that attacks the bodies lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. Hodgkin’s can spread beyond the immune system into other regions of the body.
Anthony spent the next six months undergoing chemotherapy alongside his Grandmother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Rizzo spoke about watching golf and time spent with her during their road to recovery. In September of 2008, Anthony learned that his cancer was in remission. Two weeks later, his Grandmother passed away.
Anthony made a full recovery and is the first baseman for the Chicago Cubs. He has won numerous awards for both his defense and his batting. He is a three-time all-star, won a National League Golden Glove, National League Silver Slugger, Defensive Player of the year, and as of last season; World Series Champion.
You can find out more about the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, whose mission is to raise money for cancer research and provide support to children and their families battling the disease.