Kerry Wood’s Retirement Creates Opportunity to Help Caregiving Youth

I wholeheartedly agree with Kerry Wood’s decision to retire. It’s sad, but it’s time.

I'm thankful for Wood’s dedication and loyalty to the Cubs and the city of Chicago. I’m going to choose to remember his best moments as a brilliant pitcher and forgive the rest. I truly believe that his heart has always been in the right place.

This is not only true regarding baseball. You may or may not know that Wood and his wife, Sarah, have worked tirelessly to build the Wood Family Foundation into an effective and meaningful nonprofit organization that helps kids.

More specifically, the foundation “strives to be an advocate for children in the Chicago community, inspiring others to join them in their mission of giving children the resources they need to succeed.” Two early initiatives are the funding of a playroom for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and the securing of donations of school supplies, clothing and toys for underserved children in the area.

Now that Wood is retiring, I invite him to learn more about another unmet need among children – the need for resources for our caregiving youth. It’s scarcely known that over 1.4 million children in the United States are caregivers for their siblings, parents and grandparents who have chronic or terminal illnesses and disabilities.

Video by the American Association of Caregiving Youth

I’ve often heard the saying that parents should never have to see their children die first – it’s contrary to the natural order of things. Likewise, it doesn’t jive with the natural order of life for children – sometimes barely in middle school – to have to bathe, dress and feed their parents, as well as manage difficult emotional and behavioral issues in some situations.

And yet it is a silent, growing, and very serious trend in our society.

These children need support and resources to help them meet their family members’ caregiving needs so they can focus on being kids.

For more information about our nation’s young caregivers, check out the American Association of Caregiving Youth. The organization is doing fantastic work, but they cannot do it alone.

Kerry Wood, I would love to see the needs of caregiving youth folded into your foundation’s current goals and initiatives. In the context of your organization’s mission, this seems like a perfect fit.


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