Cubs outfielder David DeJesus slammed into a wall to try to make a catch in New York in June and his body paid the price as he suffered a sprained shoulder and missed 33 games and returned in late July.
So when he stopped by the Advocate Christ Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn last Thursday, he knew of what some of the patients were going through.
“I just kept the faith,” he said in a room featuring several young patients. “I know that I can rely on my trainers and rely on the guys who have knowledge to help me get better. Time will heal all wounds and everyone here has their own struggles going on. But you have to believe that there is healing in the world and everything will be OK if you keep that positive mentality.’’
On a lighter note, he encouraged long-suffering Cubs fans to keep the faith as well. The Cubs have gone more than 100 years without a World Series title and since Theo Epstein took over as the Cubs president, the team has been subpar in 2012 and 2013 and gutted in order to rebuild with young players.
“It’s going to happen sooner than later,” DeJesus said. “I think Theo and the new management team are on the right program. They are building from within the minor leagues. A lot of young guys are coming up together. When they come into the major leagues they will have that camaraderie. Sprinkle in a couple of guys who are veterans to keep them right and I think it’s going to happen sooner than later.”
Having a major league ballplayer show up changes the climate of the day at the hospital.
“[It] really brightens the day of our pediatric patients,” Dr. George Harris, a pediatrician at the hospital said in a news release. “It’s great to have the kids interacting with these professional athletes and seeing the smiles on their faces.”
That included Hickory Hills’ Mike Henderson, who was able to meet DeJesus hours before having surgery performed.
He admitted to DeJesus he was more of a Sox fan than a Cubs fan but still looked thrilled to be able to spend a few minutes with a professional athlete.
After visiting with some of the younger patients, DeJesus made a trip to the adult surgical heart unit to pay a surprise visit to die-hard Cubs fan Carmen Murphy of Addison.
The two talked baseball for awhile and Murphy said “I saw your father play with the Cubs.”
DeJesus had to politely tell Murphy that former Cub Ivan DeJesus was not his father and people tell him that all the time.
“I’m just a kid from Jersey,” he said. “I’m not related to Ivan although my dad did know him in college.”
DeJesus asked Murphy what he thought of the Cubs and Murphy said “They are going in the right direction.”
In the future, Cubs players will be visiting another Advocate hospital later in the month in Park Ridge.