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Cubs fan with Down Syndrome raises money in bid to sing anthem at Wrigley Field

Chicago Tribune - 8/30/2018

Aug. 29--A Cubs fan with Down Syndrome has nearly doubled his fundraising goal Wednesday as part of a challenge to Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts to let him sing the national anthem at Wrigley Field.

Stefan Xidas posted a letter to Ricketts on his GoFundMe page asking him to help fulfill "a dream of mine" to sing the anthem at a Cubs game if his page raised $5,000 for Special Olympics. As of Wednesday, the page had $9,700 in pledges.

"If Tom isn't able to make this happen, I will still be donating the money to the Special Olympics," he wrote. "This is an organization that is helping so many people like myself. I really love and appreciate the work that they do."

Cubs spokesman Julian Green said via email: "We are aware and currently exploring how we can help support Stefan's effort to raise additional funds for Special Olympics. As a long-time partner of Special Olympics, we couldn't be happier with the outpouring of support and are amazed with what Stefan has accomplished in such a short time. It deserves to be recognized."

Xidas apparently is an old hand at singing the anthem. The former New Trier High School student sang it before a White Sox game in August 2005, according to the Wilmette Life.

In something of an annual tradition, Xidas plays an exhibition at the Nielsen USTA Pro Tennis Championship in Winnetka then sings the anthem. The tournament benefits Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association programs.

plthompson@chicagotribune.com

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