Chicago Cubs right-handed pitcher Ryan Dempster’s daughter, Riley, has been diagnosed with a very rare disease, DiGeorge syndrome. This disease prevents her from swallowing and digesting food properly.
Riley, who was born on April 1st, has been specialized at a Chicago-area hospital for the past 7 weeks. She has undergone many procedures that help keep her alive while she is learning to swallow on her own.
Dempster told the Chicago Tribune, “The biggest thing with her is it affects her swallowing and secretions. She secretes a lot of fluid and can’t swallow. She had surgery (on May 11) to have the trachea put in and a feeding tube inserted, where they tie her stomach around her esophagus, so it stops stuff from coming back into her.”
Dempster has been trying to keep his personal life and baseball life separate, “I don’t take it out to the field. I don’t think it affects me.” He said that he has not seriously thought about taking a leave of absence from the team.
“I’ve had unbelievable support from my teammates, from (manager) Lou (Piniella) and (pitching coach) Larry (Rothschild) and (GM) Jim (Hendry) and everybody, (giving me) days off,” he added.
Even though Riley isn’t quite “cured,” Ryan says that her prognosis is “really good.”
“We’re fortunate, both financially and professionally, where we can make an impact on her life, and hopefully the lives of others, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Dempster was voted the National League All-Star in 2000 and 2008. He also won the Tip O’Neill Award in 2000, and played in the NHL All-Star Celebrity Challenge on January 30th, 2002.