CHICAGO -- Fighting cancer is no game. But victory is sweet whether it’s on the field or in the medical world. A seven-year-old cancer survivor with a winning spirit shows some Cubs players how to really keep their eye on the prize.
Beckham Zobrist was over the moon just being on the field at Wrigley, and then he got to go down into the clubhouse too. He met all of the players. The experience is a gift to the young boy after years of health struggles.
“It was in March 2012 that we started to notice a glare in his pupil in certain lighting, and it just got progressively worse and that glare took over the pupil of his eye,” said Erin Zobrist, Beckham's mother.
That glare was cancer. Retinoblastoma.
“It was pretty hard. It hit us very, very hard. It took our breath away. It changed our life,” Erin said.
The only way to get rid of the cancer and stop it from spreading to the brain was to remove his eye. Beckham took it in stride.
“He plays sports, he’s in school, it’s like nothing happened to him. So we’re really proud of him,” said Nick Zobrist, Beckham’s dad.
“It was amazing how first grade a lot of growing up happened in Beckham and how he understood there was a loss there in his body,” Erin said.
But nothing could prepare him for the loss he felt when his friends and t-ball teammates started taunting him.
“This kid just started calling him a freak and we saw him just shy away," Erin he said.
So for Christmas, Beckham begged his mother for a new eye. When she said that wasn’t possible, he offered another idea – one he and his friends were sure to love: a Chicago Cubs eye. His second cousin, Ben Zorbist, even plays on the team.
So the family had Beckham's ocularist custom make a prosthetic eye with the Cubs logo. When he bravely showed his classmates – they were duly impressed. And during his visit to Wrigley Field, the players and coaches were as well.
“He’s my idol, and I look up to him and other kids like him that’s gone through what he’s gone through and wish him all the best," said Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez. "I told him he’s more than welcome to come back any time he wants.”
Martinez gave Beck a personal tour. Kyle Schwarber told the young fan, he sadly wasn’t using his bat this year so he offered it as a gift. And Anthony Rizzo came to the dugout to meet the little boy who had gone through such a huge ordeal. He told him, he too was a cancer survivor. The day left him speechless.
But the sweet, shy baseball lover did whisper to his dad.
“He did say, because we went to Disney World two years ago for Make-A-Wish, he told me that Make-A-Wish was now number two and this is number one,” Nick said.
And with the memory emblazoned in his mind and the Cubs logo stamped on his eye, Bechkam looks forward to watching the Cubs beat their opponents as he conquered cancer.