Three Advocate Children’s Hospital patients and their families will depart next week on a three-day trip to Mesa, Arizona, to meet Chicago Cubs players and take in the club’s first preseason ballgame.
On Wednesday, 17-year-old Daniella Castro of Rolling Meadows, 15-year-old Gael Alvarado Muñoz of Des Plaines, and 11-year-old Gage Webber of Crown Point, Indiana, were surprised with the good news at Wrigley Field.
Gael said that until he got out of the family van and saw they were at Wrigley he had no idea what was going on.
“At the house they said there was a surprise, and I thought it would be a field trip or something,” Gael said. “Nothing like this.”
Gael said he mostly was looking forward to meeting Cubs players. He has a brain tumor and watched Cubs games while receiving chemotherapy, officials said.
Daniella developed a love of the Cubs while being treated for leukemia, and baseball-loving Gage has received several procedures for a congenital heart defect, officials said.
Officials for Advocate, which has children’s hospitals in Park Ridge and Oak Lawn, said the trio and their families will be treated like VIPs during the all-expenses-paid trip. Among the planned activities is meeting with Cubs players and playing some Wiffle ball.
Dr. Michael Cappello, Advocate vice chair of pediatrics, said all have spent way too much time in hospitals receiving treatment.
“For a few days, there are no white coats, tests or concerns — just the chance to have fun,” Cappello said.
This is the fifth time hospital officials have sent children and their families to Cubs spring training through Advocate’s partnership with the ballclub.
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