Monday, November 28, 2011

Bears Bring Holiday Cheer to Cancer Patients at Comer Children’s Hospital

Phil Zielke (left), Bears tight end Matt Spaeth (center) and defensive tackle Anthony Adams (right) visit with Jatorie Finleypowers at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago.

November 27, 2011

Volunteers from Phil’s Friends and members of the Chicago Bears spread a little holiday cheer to cancer patients and their families at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital on Monday.

Offensive tight end Matt Spaeth and defensive tackle Anthony Adams delivered care packages to the children in the hospital with the help of Phil Zielke, founder of the Phil's Friends charity.

“It’s such a joy to receive a care package during a time when you’re battling a disease that takes so much from you not only physically, but also emotionally,” said Zielke. “We are blessed to have the Chicago Bears take time to help us bring hope and happiness to the brave children battling cancer.”

Zielke was diagnosed with Stage 4B Hodgkin’s lymphoma and began aggressive chemotherapy at the University of Chicago Medical Center in 2004. He thought he had beat cancer five months later, and began teaching fourth grade. Zielke relapsed after six months and faced even harsher treatment, including a stem cell transplant. In November 2005, he was cancer-free and launched Phil’s Friends.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to work with Phil and the Phil’s Friends organization to put smiles on the faces of courageous patients and loved ones this holiday season,” said Ray McElroy, chaplain of the Chicago Bears.

Sharon O'Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, helped escort Zielke and his large guests through the hospital. She is an avid Bears fan and discusses her NFL picks every weekend with the Medical Center staff.

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