Seth Bortscheller is a huge Cubs fan. He's also been given some terribly tough breaks in life. Today, I'm honored to share with you a bit of his story.
In many ways, Seth is like you and me. He's 17, and grew up in the Chicagoland area. He was born into a Cubs fan family who took Seth to Wrigley Field, and several other stadiums. Javy Baez became his man crush (as Javy is for all of us). The Cubs were winning, and life was good.
Unfortunately, Seth was diagnosed with T cell Lymphoma his sophomore year, March of 2019. He fought hard, but in the last few months his condition has worsened. In April 2020, he was feeling tired and low on energy. That was a symptom of a much larger issue. It was found that the cancer had spread to his bone marrow.
In late May, doctors informed his family that Seth wasn't responding to treatment. Then on June 5th, Seth's mom revealed on Facebook that Seth had been moved into hospice, after having an anaphylactic reaction to the last chemo medication that could offer hope for remission. While there was hope at one point for a bone marrow transplant, now there's nothing left to do but pray.
I first learned about Seth last week, via several social media posts. First, there was a Go Fund Me that caught my eye. The next day I saw a story on Make-A-Wish, as Seth and his family got to visit Wrigley Field. A few days after that, I learned that his family actually attends the same church as my family. This past weekend, we prayed for their family today as a full church community. Halfway through that moment, I realized it these three stories were all about the same guy. Talk about a small world.
At our church, my wife serves in the high school ministry. When we were putting two and two together, she realized that she's met Seth, and actually got to talk about the Cubs with him a few times. So we were really sad when we connected the all the dots. The Bortscheller family might not be close personal friends of ours, but it really hits home when you hear about something so sad happening in your immediate circle.
Fortunately, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is there to give Seth and his family a special day.
I'm really glad that even though Seth's life might be ending way too soon, he was still able to have the most special of days at Wrigley Field. Fortunately his condition held up enough so that he was able to enjoy it. Seth's mother Mary described their special day like this:
"The Wrigley trip was surreal. We wanted to have a fun day as a family in one of our favorite places, although we knew it would be the last time we would be there together. It was fun to be allowed not only to see the clubhouse, see the little stuff the guys keep in their “lockers” but Seth was able to throw a few pitches off the mound and lay in the grass in the infield....not many can say they’ve done that. Now Seth is the only one in our family to have thrown a pitch at Wrigley Field. It was an emotional day for sure."
I'm glad that baseball gave Seth and his family something to bond over. This is part of the reason why baseball and sports is so important. We've reiterated this a lot during these shutdowns just how much sports mean to us. I don't want to sidebar too far, but seriously, this is why we need the Commissioner and MLBPA to figure things out and get the sport rolling again. This is also why charities like the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation are so significant. They don't just give money to the families that need it. They give these families hope and meaning. That's also why we applaud Brett Taylor and Bleacher Nation's community, because every summer, they have a major fundraiser to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Sports helps a big big world become just a little bit smaller. Cubs fans might be all over the world, but we are a family. Times have been tough between the pandemic and racial unrest, but I'd like to reach out to you today to help make a difference for a kid who might not have much time left. Seth might be facing insurmountable odds, but we can still make him smile.
If you are able to financially give, there's a Go-Fund-Me running for Seth's family to help support them in some of this. But given Seth's love for the Cubs, I'd like to try and see if we can get some Cubs people to reach out to him. I'm going to share this story and tag a few names. If you've got the inside track with anyone, I'd greatly appreciate if you could call in a favor and see if we can have them reach out to Seth. Words from your heroes matter. Please feel free to DM me on Twitter and I'll get you connected.