Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and his grandmother shared a special bond. They both loved sports and went through cancer treatment together.
Rizzo looks back and relives his cancer-treatment experience in a column he wrote for the Players’ Tribune, honoring his grandmother before Mother’s Day.
Rizzo talks about how he found out about his cancer and how his grandmother helped him persevere and beat the cancer.
I went to the trainer and the team sent me to Boston to have some tests done. We thought maybe I had a kidney infection, so the doctors did a kidney biopsy but it turned out to be much worse. Six weeks after my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, the doctors told me I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Rizzo remembers the very moment he found out that he was cancer-free. He was flying out to Texas with his family to watch his brother play football when the doctor called his mother.
Four months after my diagnosis, the tumors were gone. I was in remission. My mother went crazy. We celebrated right there on the plane. After everything I’d been through — and after everything we’d been through as a family — I was cancer-free.
Two weeks after the Cubs first baseman was in remission his grandmother passed away after a long battle from breast cancer.
Seven years after Rizzo beat cancer he still pays tribute to his grandmother before every game with a little prayer.
In every big moment in my life — like when I got called up to the big leagues — I always think about my grandparents. Every big game I play in, during the national anthem, I always say a little prayer and speak to them, and it’s hard not to choke up and think about how proud they’d be to see what I’m doing now because they know how much I love this game.
Rizzo is the founder of the “Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation,” which helps raise money for cancer research and provides support to children and families battling cancer.