Rizzo Comes in Clutch

A locally hosted fundraiser for the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation far surpasses its goal while delighting guests with a visit by Anthony Rizzo, Ryne Sandberg, Todd Ricketts, and Frank Thomas


story by Name | Photo by Linda M. Barrett

Anthony Rizzo, Ryne Sandberg, Todd Ricketts, and Frank Thomas join forces to support the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.

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The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, with its mission to benefit cancer research and to support the children and families who have a loved one battling the disease, was created just four years after the Chicago Cubs First Baseman Anthony Rizzo completed treatment for his own cancer diagnosis in 2008. While starting his career as a professional baseball player in Greenville, S.C., in Single A ball, he was abruptly stopped short with the news that he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Anthony Rizzo’s family, his close friends, and members of his management team run the nonprofit foundation with Rizzo providing oversight and leadership. Rizzo was deeply affected during his diagnosis and treatment. He became aware of how an entire family battles the illness while he had cancer, and knowing that his grandmother was battling breast cancer at the same time. His belief is that every family deserves a fighting chance, and he endeavors to be a role model to help cancer patients and their families. As he says on his website, “Stay strong and have faith.”

On June 10, Barrington residents Alisa and Rick Heidner and their family hosted an extraordinary event to bring together Rizzo, two other baseball legends, and Chicago Cubs director Todd Ricketts, as well as their guests in support the Foundation. The late spring weather held up beautifully for the fundraiser that was held outdoors. Guests mingled between the cocktail hour and hors d'oeuvres in anticipation of seeing some of Chicago baseball’s heavy hitters—Anthony Rizzo, Frank Thomas, Ryne Sandberg, and Cubs’ Board Director Todd Ricketts—to arrive.

The event was a unique opportunity for people to meet the VIPs and have a shot at wearing their championship rings, as well as to take selfies and group photos with them. A buffet dinner catered by Moretti’s restaurant featuring beef, crab, chicken, pasta, salads, and dessert was a crowd pleaser.

After dinner, Rick Heidner gathered everyone together for an auction. Signed sports memorabilia, luxury hand-crafted Joseph Nicola purses, and other items were auctioned. Heidner says his goal in support of the Foundation was to raise $200,000. The event raised closer to $240,000—a clutch moment for a very good cause.

To learn more about the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, or to offer a donation, visit www.rizzo44.com.

Frank Thomas and two of his children point out his 500 Home Run Club autographed baseball.

Host Rick Heidner shows a 500 Home Run Club autographed baseball collection to Ryne Sandberg and Anthony Rizzo.

Left: Ryne Sandberg with Frank Thomas’ daughter. Right: Rick Heidner takes holds Anthony Rizzo’s 2016 All Star ring.

Left: Guests enjoyed cocktails outdoors before a buffet dinner. Right: Moretti’s catered the event with a buffet of salads, pasta, vegetables, chicken, beef filet, crab legs, and more.

Todd Ricketts shares his ring with a guest for a photo.

Guests enjoyed meeting Anthony Rizzo at the Barrington event.

One of the many exciting auction items to benefit the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.