Anthony Rizzo, first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, was just presented with the Roberto Clemente Award for his work work with in the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation which strives to help families affected by a cancer diagnosis.
In his comments following the ceremony, Rizzo expressed how grateful he was to receive the award:
“To win this is amazing. That’s the impact we want to make. A lot of organizations do amazing work, and we want to impact families directly. And this foundation, that’s what the staple is. It’s insane over the last few years how many people have come up to me and said how we’ve helped someone’s friend of a friend of a friend, and it gets back to me. To touch lives like that, it’s something you can’t explain.”
The award was presented to Rizzo by Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred as well as Vera Clemente, the wife of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente after whom the award is named.
According to Commissioner Manfred, the award is the most prestigious award that can be given to a player:
“When we think about our season-long awards, the Roberto Clemente Award is really the most prestigious, because it combines recognition for what the player has done on the field with his work in the community. It is fitting that this award is named for Roberto Clemente, and I would like to thank Vera, who is here with us today, for continuing to work with us in selecting the winner of the award each year, and for all the great work she does in the community continuing the legacy of her great husband.”
Rizzo is a cancer survivor himself. After his diagnosis with Hodgkins lymphoma in 2008 he followed a treatment plan that left him cancer-free. Since then he has dedicated his time outside of the major leagues to helping those whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
Since its creation, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation has raised millions of dollars which it has donated to hospitals and to cancer research centers including the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami.