Pediatric cancer patients surprised with dream trip to Cubs' spring training in Arizona

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A group of patients at Advocate Children's Hospital got a special surprise Monday.

The children and their families learned they are about to take the trip of a lifetime for baseball fans to Cubs' spring training in Mesa, Arizona.

The trip is a reward for enduring the agony of a debilitating illness.

"I've been getting chemotherapy and I'm in remission," said 12-year-old John Sorial. "I was only going once month. I had spinals every two months."

It's a much needed break from hospitals and it is all thanks to the Cubs, Advocate Children's Hospital, American Airlines and Marriot.

One mom said the timing couldn't be better.

"He hasn't been able to do sports," said John's mother, Susan Sorial. "A lot of time we didn't let the kids go to birthday parties and stuff because there was a flu going around."

For these young Cubs fans, its dream come true.

The opportunity also gives 11-year-old cancer patient, Peter Rapatas, a change to say thanks to his hero Kyle Schwarber.

"I gave him a wristband and he wore it for almost the entire rest of the season," Rapatas said.

"Now he's in remission. We finished our four cycles, [and] he's got his hair back," said Peter's dad Gus. "Mine is not, but right now we're good. There were some rough times but we're good."

The youngsters will get to take their parents and extended family members.

Nyiah Young is battling sickle cell disease, but said she's ready to go.

"I've loved the Cubs since I was 6-years-old and since I started watching with my grandmother," said the now 14-year-old Young.

"It gets her away from dealing with her medical condition. Just getting her mind free and like I said, she was just released from a week stay at the hospital," said Young's mom, Danielle Washington-Young.

This is the fourth year the groups have gotten together to pull off this trip for these deserving young patients.

"It's a much-needed respite, obviously, for the kids," said Dr. Mark Butterly, Vice-Chair of pediatrics at Advocate Children's Hospital. "They are going to have a really good time. We have arranged for them, not just the game but a lot of player visits, really to take their minds off of what they go through on a regular basis."

Five young patients and their families will leave for Mesa Thursday and return Saturday.

The Cubs plan to make them feel like royalty, hoping to be the best medicine you could imagine.
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