Anthony Rizzo steps up to the plate to help first responders battling pandemic

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Anthony Rizzo understands being a professional baseball player involves more than what happens on the diamond.

Back in 2012, his first season with the Cubs, he started the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation to help pediatric cancer patients and their families. (Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma back in 2008.) And during the COVID-19 crisis, the foundation has shifted some of its focus to benefit those helping to battle the pandemic.

“We’re trying to be there for people that are in tough times,” Rizzo said in an interview with David Kaplan on NBC Sports Chicago's “Be Chicago: Together We Can" special. “We’ve sent out over 50 care packages to cancer families, just to let them know we’re thinking of them. Sent some videos to the hospitals letting them know we’re thinking of them. We don’t want to stop. We never want to stop.”

BECHICAGODonate to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund

The foundation is sending out more than just care packages and videos.  They have served more than 4,500 meals to health care workers in six different states. Over a thousand boxes of gloves, 55 gallons of hand sanitizer and 24,000 masks have been donated to help the cause.

“These are tough times and the real heroes in our country right now are not athletes,” Rizzo said. “They’re all the front line workers, the people who are going out every day putting their health at risk for us and to take care of people who are sick, so it’s been really moving to see how the country has rallied around all the frontline workers, the police officers, the firefighters. The list goes on and on.”

As Rizzo and his wife Emily (along with their dog, Kevin) spend down time in Florida waiting for when things can begin to get back to normal, his foundation's work will continue across the country.

And right now, that is needed more than a double into the gap or a great catch at first base.

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