Bob Dernier and Tony Campana conduct a clinic with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, which has a wheelchair softball team sponsored by Cubs Care. (Photo courtesy Cubs Community Affairs.) The following is the Leading Off column from the upcoming October 2011 issue, previewing some of the content in this issue and expanded coverage coming up. Subscribe to Vine Line today.
Bob Dernier said they had a term for it in his playing days.
A former speedster himself—and one who still looks fit enough at 54 years old to get down the line in four seconds—Dernier glows when talking about Tony Campana. Leave it to the coach whose stopwatch is permanently affixed to his hand to best appreciate how a 5-foot-9, 165-pound kid can change a baseball game.
You’ll see in Bruce Miles’ cover feature that the Cubs’ first base coach doesn’t just believe in Campana’s athleticism, however. He has a deep appreciation for the challenges Campana has faced his whole life, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a 7-year-old and then the continual need to prove himself as able to play with the big boys in professional baseball.
Earlier this year, the two helped lead a clinic for a group from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, with which Cubs Care sponsors a wheelchair softball team. Dernier encouraged Campana to talk to everyone about his own background.
As the 25-year-old, fresh-faced Campana described all the times people told him he couldn’t play baseball—he was too sick, too small, too weak—he had a direct message for each individual.
“I never listened to that stuff, and the next thing you know, I was in the big leagues,” he said. “Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t do something. You have to believe
in yourself.” (more…)
Vine Line’s July cover boy has continued to make a positive impact on and off the field. Post by Austin Hannon. (Photo by Stephen Green)
More important than healing his knee while on the 15-day DL, Darwin Barney took the time to heal the spirits of a 2-year-old boy at Chicago Memorial Hospital in June.
Drew Boedigheimer was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy in April and underwent a successful heart transplant in May. To cheer up Drew, one doctor recommended contacting the Cubs, and with the help of the team, the family soon connected with the rookie second baseman.
“It was obviously an easy decision for me to go,” Barney told The Oregonian.
Barney, featured on the July cover of Vine Line, arrived full of gifts, including a team-autographed baseball. Drew’s parents were thrilled Barney visited their son.
“He seemed truly concerned for Drew,” Tara Boedigheimer said. “He didn’t want press there. He wasn’t doing it for any reason other than being generally concerned.” (more…)
Art by Jerry Neumann, and story by Jordan Ramos. Featured in the upcoming August issue of Vine Line.
There’s no doubt that Kerry Wood has made an impact in Chicago ever since he was a 20-year-old rookie. But now, as one of the Cubs’ veteran leaders, Wood is looking to make an even wider impact with his new charitable foundation.
In late June, Kerry and his wife, Sarah, announced the creation of the Wood Family Foundation, an organization that will benefit children’s charities throughout Chicagoland. They were joined by their three young children.
“Sarah and I have committed ourselves to Chicago, and I would like to use my success on and off the field to help grow a foundation that will make a difference in a child’s life,” Wood said.
Two of the foundation’s initial projects will be a playroom for children receiving cancer treatment at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and a high school baseball field for students in an underserved area. Clothing, school-supply and toy drives will also be sponsored by the Wood family. (more…)
Kerry Wood and Reed Johnson help kick off the fun and games at the second-annual Dempster Family Foundation Casino Night, helping strike out 22q. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Click to play video recap of the inaugural Dempster Family Foundation Casino Night.
Vine Line was there from the start, taking Cubs fans inside the inaugural Dempster Family Foundation Casino Night last season. The launch party was just the first step for the Dempsters, who are about to embark on Year Two of their mission to get every child in the U.S. with DiGeorge Syndrome properly diagnosed.
This year’s event will be on Wednesday, July 20 at the Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago. Individual and “High Roller” tickets are available at dempsterfamilyfoundation.org.
And to learn more about the great cause, read Vine Line’s cover feature from last July. Kerry Sayers talked to both Ryan and Jenny to learn of the challenges they faced raising their daughter through her first year, as well as what continues to drive them to strike out 22q deletion:
The Dempsters have always felt a responsibility to give back, so it was natural form them to begin thinking about starting a charity of their own. In a strange twist of fate, they were in the process of deciding what type of foundation they wanted to start when Riley was born.
“It’s like somebody said, ‘Do it for this. Here, we’re going to give you Riley, and you guys can go out and make a difference because there are parents out there who don’t know how to get the word out. So here, you guys can do it,’” Ryan said.
And getting the word out is the couple’s main goal.
“Meeting so many parents and talking to so many people, we realize so many kids don’t get diagnosed until later on in life and the parents go through such struggles the first years of their lives not knowing what’s wrong with their kids,” Jenny said.
Illustration by Jerry Neumann. Featured in the upcoming June 2011 issue of Vine Line (subscribe).
The Cubs-Brewers rivalry may be best known for the highway—Interstate 94—that connects Chicago and Milwaukee. But Cubs board member Todd Ricketts is out to prove once again that the scenic route is the one worth traveling.
The second annual Wrigley Field Road Tour departs Aug. 27, 2011, and on May 12, Ricketts led a crew of brightly clad cyclists to the Friendly Confines to promote the event, benefitting Chicago Cubs Charities and World Bicycle Relief (WBR).
Ricketts, who had just returned from WBR operations in the Republic of Zambia, described the power two wheels provided for a 9-year-old girl.
“Before, when she was walking [to school], she’d have to leave in the dark, and she’d be coming home in the dark,” Ricketts told Len Kasper and Bob Brenly on air. “So this is going to be nice for her to be able to stay home, wait for the daylight to come [and still] get to school in a timely manner.” (more…)
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Carlos Marmol was one of the Cubs’ six Dominican players to be honored by the Governor of Illinois and Consul General of the Dominican Republic. (Photo by Stephen Green)
A few things transcend the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry, but on Tuesday, the state of Illinois and the Dominican Republic did just that, honoring players from the Dominican Republic in a pre-game ceremony.
Under the Ricketts family, the Cubs are doing more than ever in the Caribbean island nation. In addition to work being done on a new facility to develop and educate players, Chicago Cubs Charities also has gotten involved—part of ownership’s commitment to do good wherever the Cubs touch.
Press release below:
The Chicago Cubs, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Consul General of the Dominican Republic Gisselle Castillo-Veremis will honor players from the Dominican Republic in a pre-game ceremony at Wrigley Field on May 10.
Prior to the Tuesday evening game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs and the governor, along with the Consulate of the Dominican Republic in Chicago, will salute Cubs Starlin Castro, Carlos Marmol, Marcos Mateo, Carlos Peña, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano. Consul General Giselle Castillo-Veremis will present these six, along with Cardinals Miguel Batista and Albert Pujols, with a special recognition award on behalf of the President of the Dominican Republic.
“The Cubs are grateful for the contribution of Dominican-born players to our 2011 team,” said Oneri Fleita, Cubs vice president of player personnel. “We have watched many of these players grow up and are proud to see them doing so well at the Major League level.”