After raising more than $18,800 for Special Olympics Illinois, Cubs fan Stefan Xidas, who has Down syndrome, had his wish granted Monday night before the Cubs game against the Milwaukee Brewers. In front of a crowd of roughly 38,000 fans, he finally got the chance to sing the national anthem at Wrigley Field.
“It’s the best moment I could ever imagine,” Xidas, a Wilmette native, said before he took the field to belt out the anthem.
Xidas’ journey to the Friendly Confines wasn’t a walk in the ballpark. It all started last month when his two childhood friends, Tommy Molitor and John Rosinski, helped him create a GoFundMe page to collect donations for Special Olympics Illinois.
In an open letter addressed to Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts on the fundraising page, Xidas, 30, wrote:
I’d like to make a deal with Tom Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs. If I’m able to raise $5,000 for the Special Olympics Organization, Tom Ricketts will let me sing the National Anthem at a Cubs game.
Less than three days after the page went live, Xidas, who plays tennis through Special Olympics, met his goal. And as of Monday evening, he more than tripled his original goal and Cubs charity also pledged $18,000. The combined efforts brought the grand total to more than $36,800.