Chicago Cub Visits Byron Family’s Home When They Need It Most
Matt Henkel of Byron is a husband, father, and beloved Byron resident. Most recently Matt retired as General Manager/Superintendent of Prairieview Golf Club in Byron, which has been a big part of his life. This retirement is not because of Matt's age or career change. For the past decade, Matt has been in the biggest fight of his life, glioblastoma (brain cancer). More recently, Matt shared the news no one wants to hear, the tumor is growing to a life-threatening degree.
While preparing for a trial treatment that could save his life, someone showed up at his door to meet him and his family with words of support and encouragement. This visitor understands and can relate to brain cancer in an intimate fashion, Chicago Cub outfielder/third baseman/second baseman, Ian Happ. Happ's dad died from brain cancer in October of 2015, Keith Happ was 58.
Matt shared the experience on Twitter, mentioning Ian Happ drove to the family's home in his personal vehicle with signed Cubs memorabilia in hand - the least important "gift" for the family. Over the past few years, Matt has dreamed of his son meeting Ian Happ to talk about brain cancer with Ian. That dream came true this past weekend. "Ian took time to talk workouts with Matt's son, cancer topics, stuff about his personal life, baseball and so much more.", said a source close to the family. Matt also thanked Happ on Twitter.
Thank you Ian for taking the time to visit me and meeting my family. Ashton looks up to you, and you are a damn good role model!
Ian Happ also brought a gift from a former Chicago Cubs and likely future Hall of Famer who also battled cancer. MLB free agent Jon Lester.
I also want to thank @JLester34 for the signed cleats! From one cancer survivor to another, thank you, brother.
Matt is currently being treated by the best neurosurgeon in the United States.
This is one of those stories that should inspire you to be hopeful in the darkest days or inspire you to do whatever selfless act your heart is speaking to you. It's also a reminder to share your story with someone who is going through similar circumstances that you have been through.
Matt, we wish you the best. Stay strong, brother! 👊