Braden Beats Cancer: Young Cubs fan rings the bell to a surprise from Anthony Rizzo, Boog Sciambi and Jim DeShaies
As Braden Kubish-Kornaus made the long walk down a hallway filled with bubbles and cheering nurses, doctors and family members he was certain of one thing: he had defeated cancer.
When he reached up and rang the bell to signify the end of his cancer treatment, multicolored streamers shot through the air, cascading across the front of his black T-shirt that featured the words “Too Tough For Cancer”. A fitting motto for the 12-year-old survivor.
Although the real reward is knowing the disease and pain is behind him, Braden received a surprise to help jumpstart creating a few new positive memories.
Braden’s mother Brittany held up her phone to show her son a special video message from Marquee Sports Network broadcasters Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Jim Deshaies. Followed by a personalized message from Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who met Braden through a Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation experience in 2018.
“I want to congratulate you for finally getting to ring the bell,” Rizzo said. “It’s so amazing! I remember meeting you a couple of years ago. Now to know that you are finally going to ring that bell is such an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations, you have your whole life ahead of you to do whatever you want. Keep dreaming, stay strong and can’t wait to have you out at Wrigley again soon. Take care.”
Then Sciambi followed Rizzo’s message with one more piece of news that would light Braden’s face up like the Fourth of July.
“You and your family are going to come out to a game at Wrigley Field, pretty cool surprise, right?” Sciambi said. “That’s from all of us here at Marquee Sports Network. We look forward to seeing you at Wrigley.”
Northwestern Medicine’s Central DuPage Hospital staff was happy to see Braden receive support from Rizzo, Sciambi and Deshaies, and were especially proud of his mindset throughout the journey.
“Anthony Rizzo is amazing,” Laura Petrando, the clinical director and Braden’s pediatric nurse practitioner said. “The pediatric oncology [department] talks about him all of the time and how he goes out of his way to help these patients. It means so much to them when they’re struggling and having such difficult times. Anthony Rizzo’s foundation is incredible.”
The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation and the Cubs helped coordinate the video message ahead of Tuesday’s special Cubs-Phillies game broadcast auction on Marquee Sports Network to benefit pediatric cancer patients and their families.
The day was filled with emotions for the entire family, including Braden’s father Mike, who was reflective of his son’s experience.
“He’s had a lot of different struggles throughout his life,” Kornaus said. “Unfortunately a lot of them have taken up a portion of his childhood. He doesn’t even care about that. He’s just having fun, being a good kid.”
Childhood is meant to be filled with fun, innocence and baseball. Although Braden’s life is forever changed, he will be able to be both carefree and cancer-free for the first summer in too many summers.
Just a kid – surrounded by the people he loves, who love him right back. All sitting together, watching his favorite team the Cubs play at Wrigley Field.
Video shot and produced by digital content manager Scott Changnon