By: Matt Rothman
There are just not enough positive words to say about Parkland’s own Anthony Rizzo.
Along with all his donations over the years, Rizzo was back in the news this week for another reason after fulfilling his two-year promise to meet 13-year-old Caden Leddy before the Yankees game on Friday against the Chicago White Sox.
Born with Aortic Valve Stenosis, where two of the three flaps on his aortic valve had fused two months after birth, surgeons at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago performed angioplasty on him. Doctors say Caden would not have lived past five years old if untreated.
In 2019, his father, Joe Leddy, raised $10,000 by running in the Chicago Marathon and appearing as Santa Claus. Half of the money received was donated to the Anthony Rizzo Foundation. Due to the donations, Rizzo promised to meet Caden — but it took two years to make a reality due to the pandemic.
The two met during batting practice before the Yankees’ 10-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. Despite growing up a Chicago Cubs fan, Caden switched teams just like his hero did after being traded to the New York Yankees. Caden plays first base and wears number 44 in honor of Rizzo.
This comes days after Rizzo had the chance to reunite with a long-time fan named Rory Hermes. Two years ago, Rizzo had the opportunity to meet with Rory as he was starting cancer treatment. Later this week, Rory will ring the bell to celebrate the end of treatment.
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- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism and then graduated from the University of Florida as a graduate student.
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