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Ricketts’ support helps kids with cancer

Logo Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation

Logo of Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation

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Updated: November 22, 2012 6:33AM

I was very disheartened by Rick Telander’s Oct. 14 column, “Cubs looking to be more charitable to themselves.” As CEO and founder of Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, a national organization whose mission is to eliminate pediatric cancer and to provide hope and support to those who are touched by it, I thought the column was an unfair depiction of the Cubs’ charitable involvement.

As Telander specifically mentioned Bear Necessities’ Bear Hugs program, I would like to take this opportunity to explain that program. A Bear Hug is a unique, customized experience for a child in treatment for pediatric cancer who lives in Illinois or is treated at one of this city’s incredible pediatric oncology institutions. The purpose of a Bear Hug is to help that child to feel like a kid again.

I use the term “forget” there loosely. As a mother who lost her only son to this devastating disease almost 20 years ago, I can tell you we never once forgot that Barrett (who I called Bear) had cancer. But on good days, and there were good days, what a joy it was to simply be a mom and a kid.

The Ricketts’ support of Bear Necessities’ Bear Hugs Program has made countless such experiences possible.

When a child who has been incredibly sick is given the opportunity to experience one of those “holy cow” moments, records don’t matter.

It’s the experience of walking into the legendary Wrigley Field and seeing the ivy and the grass brilliantly lit, the stadium packed and the home team stepping up to the plate.

Ask any 7-year-old what “holy cow” feels like at that moment.

Now imagine the power that experience has for a child whose every other moment is a fight for his or her life, a battle with cancer.

Bear Hugs are just part of what the Ricketts’ incredible generosity makes possible through Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. I believe the Ricketts fully understand the need to help charities and the importance of making a difference. What they do for these children, and their families, may seem like a PR stunt to Rick Telander, but their generosity has a profound impact.

Just ask one of those kids!

Kathleen A. Casey, CEO and founder,

Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation

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