Cubs usher with heart problem nearly didn't get World Series ring

Thursday, April 27, 2017 04:37PM
A Wrigley Field usher was reunited on Thursday with the doctor and nurses who went to great lengths to help him live out his dream.


PARK RIDGE, Ill. - A Wrigley Field usher was reunited on Thursday with the doctor and nurses who went to great lengths to help him live out his dream. The medical team made a big sacrifice so Don Vlcke could receive his World Series ring in a special ceremony.

He got to thank them on Thursday.

It may be his most prized possession, but he almost missed being a part of Cubs history. Don Vlcek, 88, is a lifelong Cubs fan who for the last 19 years has been an usher at the ballpark. Needless to say he waited a long time for this World Series ring.

"I think it was very nice of them. I don't think they had to... or maybe they had to, I don't know," said Wrigley Field usher Don Vlcek.

The ring ceremony was an emotional one for nearly everyone associated with the team and the rings themselves are quite a treasure. But Don nearly didn't get one. That's because a couple days before the ceremony, on April 14, he was on the verge of full cardiac arrest and rushed to Lutheran General Hospital.

"Then the doctors saying good thing you got here now an hour later, you wouldn't be here," said Vlcek.

He needed a defibrillator installed in his heart. But there was a problem. He couldn't miss the ring ceremony. Fortunately his doctor and nurses are Cubs fans.


"We can't do this on Monday, we need to do it now because he needs his ring," said Toni Bartels, cardiac nurse.

"So we just said you know we'll come in early tomorrow morning, and it was a Saturday morning, and take care of the procedure and get him on his way so he can get the ring," said Dr. Raymond Kawasaki, cardiologist.

Don plans to wear the ring everywhere. And he's optimistic the Cubs will win more.

"I got fingers for ten of 'em," said Vlcek.

Doctors say Don is doing well and he can continue working as an usher at the ballpark for as long as he wants.
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