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Ryan Dempster worried about far more than baseball

Feb 8, 2010, 10:45 PM EDT

Ryan Dempster has a lot on his plate, and not just in making preparations to head to Mesa, Ariz., for spring training.

The Chicago Cubs pitcher is dealing with a personal battle as well, trying to help his 10-month old daughter deal with a serious ailment. (From the New York Times):

Ryan and Jenny Dempster’s 10-month-old daughter, Riley, was born with DiGeorge syndrome, a developmental disorder caused by a defective chromosome. She requires nearly constant medical attention.

Her digestive system has been affected. Unable to swallow, Riley spends mealtime tethered to a feeding tube, while another tube in her tiny throat allows for the draining of built-up secretions that could seep into her lungs and impair breathing. It’s her only manifestation of the illness.

Riley Dempster has spent more than three months in hospitals in Chicago, Philadelphia and Phoenix, and has had four surgeries. The Dempsters hope that physical therapy will help her strengthen the muscles used to swallow and that she will eventually learn to do so.

Meanwhile, Dempster and his wife have started a foundation to help raise awareness – and money – for the cause, in part to help others who can’t afford treatment.

You can read all about it here.

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  1. Ed - Feb 8, 2010 at 11:33 PM

    Man my heart and prayers really go out the Dempsters… As a dad I can say watching your child hurt, struggle… suffer… Nothing is worse!

  2. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    And as a dad – and grandfather – I can only agree with you. But it sounds like there’s enough love in that house to see the kid through. Rough haul. Back when Dempster was with the Marlins – at least I’m pretty sure he was with the team then – he would have had to help console Preston Wilson, whose baby was born prematurely and died shortly thereafter.
    .
    Having said that, some of you might think it irrelevant to bring up politics, but it isn’t at all irrelevant. If the Dempsters want to help others who face the same heartbreak but who don’t have the medical coverage they’d probably have if they lived in Dahomey or Paraguay, don’t vote for any Republicans in November. Foundations are nice but they’re a dime a dozen. Help fix this corrupt fiasco of a medical system at its roots by not being misled by the right. You’ll be doing a real favor for uninsured families that way.

  3. HSolo - Feb 9, 2010 at 3:50 AM

    Old Gator, and you’re a grandfather? I wonder, what kind of grandfather may you be? There’s no need to swear and no need to add politics unto everything. So if you want to talk about politics, we’ve had a Democrat president in the White House for a year, with a Democrat congress and they couldn’t pass a healthcare bill, so what do you have to say now.

  4. billybill - Feb 9, 2010 at 4:22 AM

    Actually,it’s been like,a year and two weeks.So,they should have like,fixed health care in a year,and like fixed the economy or something in like the extra two weeks they had.

  5. Wade - Feb 9, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    Yeah! Those rubes have had over a year now to repair damage that has built up over decades! I want it fixed NOW, and I know that it should have been fixed now because I’m…an irrational person who’s severed all ties with reality.
    GO BASEBALL!!!
    Have a great Tuesday everybody!

  6. Ronkonkoma Chet - Feb 9, 2010 at 8:20 AM

    You should all be ashamed for discussing politics when this poor guy is in a daily battle to help his suffering child. Ryan, my heart goes out to you, and you and family are in my prayers. It is absolutely horible for a parent to have to watch their child suffer.

  7. Old Gator - Feb 9, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    Like hell we should be ashamed. If you look back at the original story, the Dempsters are specifically trying to reach out and help families who – ready? Maybe it’ll sink through that leaden crust you use for a skull the second time – can’t afford the treatments. That’s a political issue, no matter how far up your butt you want to hide your mind. And for seventeen years by my count, the – and here we go again, no apologies – fucking Republicans have been assiduously sabotaging any efforts to deprive their corporate pimps in the medical and insurance industries of their obscene profits, without ever offering one single – okay, cover your eyes again if cutesy adjectives are all you can deal with – fucking constructive idea about what to do for families who have to watch loved ones suffer and even die of treatable diseases in the meantime.
    .
    I’m no fan of those bungling, undisciplined clowns called Democrats either, by the way – I’m equal opportunity contemptuous. But what I do have to say for them is that they’re trying, in their own fiasco of a way, to get things done. The scumbags across the aisles are merely unanimous in their obstructionism. And kudos to the correspondent above who pointed out that they’ve got a decade and a half of Republican obstruction – the same Republicans who ran us up the most horrific deficit this side of Argentina while rallying the unwashed and lobotomized with blandishments to fiscal responsibility – to try to undo. History will record that this country finally fell from its perch during their watch, and that the Democrats, may Buddha have mercy on their disorganized souls and permit them to reincarnate as ants or bees, were left to clean up an impossible mess.
    .
    Yeah, there are damned good reasons for getting pissed off. And swearing, given that the real obscenity here is this disgrace of a medical system of ours, not the occasional expletive.

  8. Mark - Feb 9, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    You tell ‘em Gator. The Democrats are trying to clean up after the mess that W left after ruining this country the last 8 years. Ain’t gonna be done overnight. Give him time, the man has some great ideas and has the best interest of all Americans at heart.
    And living in Chicago, but a die-hard Sox ( White, not Red ) fan I don’t like the Cubs and their organization. But I DO feel for the Dempsters………he seems like a great guy from hearing him speak via interviews. I hope their daughter ends up 100% healthy.

  9. Jonny5 - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Ok…….. Who is more corrupt? Our U.S. medical profession or the Federal government? The government, by a long shot. Yet the sheeple want THEM to be in control of their healthcare???? That’s so crazy it’s almost funny. In a “free” country I like the choice of who I give my hard earned money for their charity healthcare. We need healthcare reform, but not in this form.
    http://www.theadvocates.org/freeman/8903lemi.html

  10. Luis - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Look at that, a screed without a mention of Macondo or Loria or horsemeat, and you actually manage to make cogent, passionate sense.
    .
    There are plenty of reasons to be upset, cold though it may seem to turn a note on a family’s personal tragedy into a political catalyst. I’m generally offended that more people in this country aren’t more upset.
    .
    Also…I have still yet to hear anyone of any consequence argue for a complete government takeover of healthcare. It’s merely about breaking up (or at least diminishing the power of) the current cartel that rakes people over the coals at will. If you value choice so much, I fail to see how you can be so opposed to a plurality of options.

  11. Sven-Erik - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    Hey guys, gotta love that National Health Insurance. Over here in Sweden, I had heart problems. Went in the hospital, had an operation and now I feel great. it cost me 8 dollars per night in the hospital and it’s the Doctors, not the insurance companies who decided how long I stayed in the hospital.
    No pre existing conditions, don’t loose the health care if I loose my job or retire. Don’t get denied health care either if I get old, no problems. Health care and dental care for children is 100% free as is prenatal care for women.
    WHY do you think I moved over here from Chicago and now that I have ESPN America, I get all the live Baseball I want.
    To those of you that are against national health care: You don’t understand what you are oppsed to and you certainly do not understand how national health care works, certainly not if you listen to Fox News or any number of conservative media whose only interest is ratings.
    Play ball!

  12. Jonny5 - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Where is this from?? have you actually seen this multi trillion dollar bill, which is loaded with billions of porkbarrel “projects”? I know “someone” promised to release it to the public before any voting took place, why are we in the dark still when we will ultimately pay the bill? Nothing keeps costs lower than the free market, simple economics and common sense tells us all that. not to mention historical data.
    Anyway, enough of that. We’re in trouble big time even with this off the table.

  13. Jonny5 - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2009/03/04/swedens_government_health_care

  14. Wade - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    Townhall.com? Really? Is that where the facts are? Underneath the pop-ups for Palin and Beck books? Mmmmmm…snake oil.
    No further comment, your honor.

  15. Jonny5 - Feb 9, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    That’s the best you have? The facts are still facts no matter whom says it. Check them out if you want. Seriously though every country who has socialized healthcare has diminished quality, longer waits for services, sub par equipment, etc… the list can go on. Sweden who has the best record actually has armed gaurds at their clinics since waiting for 5 hours to be seen can drive people to madness. Just because “the man” say’s it’s the way to go doesn’t make it true. The only people who will get better care are those who now have none. The rest of us will likely see diminished quality in service like the rest of the world.

  16. Skids - Feb 9, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Thoughts and prayers to the Dempster family. Hopefully, eventually, the child will be free from this disease. As a father, you would much rather it be you than your child.

  17. Sven-Erik - Feb 9, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    TO Johnny 5. Do I have to mention all the people turned away from emergency rooms in the States because they have no insurance? Do I have to remind everyone about the people who can’t get insurance because they have pre existing conditions? Do I have to remind you about all the people in the States whose only health insurance is their Visa card?
    I lived as an adult my first 40 years in the States, don’t even try to tell me I don’t know what I am speaking about.
    A simplistic website like Townhall has no value, if that’s where you are getting your news, you aren’t getting news.
    If you were a pitcher, I’d give you ball 4 on that one.
    I live here, I know how it works, you don’t and Townhall certainly does not.

  18. Sven-Erik - Feb 9, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    “Armed Guards”? Not only was it ball four for you, Johnny, you walked in the lead run with the bases loaded for that remark. That was way out in left field.

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