Wrigley Field Hosts Adult Down Syndrome Center For Special Cubs Field Trip

Lisa Fielding
August 26, 2019 - 2:14 pm

(Lisa Fielding/WBBM)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Cubs may be on the road, but Wrigley Field played host to a group of special men and women on Monday.

"This is our first field trip," said Brian Chicoine, medical director of the Adult Down Syndrome Center at Advocate Medical Group. "The last three years, we've had Cubs players visit us at the clinic. This year, we decided to come to them."

The Adult Down Syndrome Center has been at Advocate Health since 1992 and serves about 6,000 people a year.

"It's a medical facility that provides physical and mental health services for adolescents and adults with Down Syndrome," said Chicoine. "It started two mornings a month, now it's a full-time clinic. There are some unique health care issues that people with Down Syndrome need. We know that health promotion is very important so we offer a variety of services beyond the typical thing you'd get in the doctors' office."

The rain put a damper on outside activities, but the group took part in a Zumba class one the bleachers concourse and played a Wiffle Ball game in the Cubs bullpen.

"I love Zumba," said Julie Halfen, one of the adults on the trip. "This makes me happy." 

"I love Zumba," said Julie Halfen, one of the adults on the trip. She said her favorite player is Kris Bryant. "He came to visit me last year. I proposed to him." (Lisa Fielding/WBBM)

She said her favorite player is Kris Bryant.

"He came to visit me last year. I proposed to him," she laughed.

For Lorenzo Frieri, 24, it's Kyle Schwarber.

"I've only been to Wrigley Field one time. I feel great." Frieri said.

In the meantime, a few took some swings inside the Cubs batting cages.

"I'm a Cub fan and a coach," said Patrick Nicholson. "My swing is pretty good. I've coached with my father. My favorite players are Joe Maddon, number one, then Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell."

Patrick Nicholson is a big Cubs fans and has many favorites. (Lisa Fielding/WBBM)

Patrick's father Larry Nicholson said it's a big day for Patrick and the other adults.

"It means a lot. He loves Wrigley, he loves the Cubs and he's all about having a good time," Larry Nicholson said of his son. " It gets him out of the daily routine. He does have jobs so getting him out to see this, something different, is awesome."

Chicoine said the clinic's mission is to offer socialization, wellness and job opportunities.

Larry Nicholson and Patrick Nicholson enjoyed a day behind the scenes at Wrigley Field Aug. 26. (Lisa Fielding/WBBM)

"When people graduate from high school, there's not as many opportunities so they are looking for services, jobs (and) things to keep them healthly and active," he said. "We're trying to fill that need as well as coordinate with other organizations that do like work and provide these services. We have a great partnership with the Cubs so to be here at Wrigley and participate with our patients is amazing."

About 1,000 people in the United States is born with Down syndrome every year, making it the most common chromosomal condition for our population. Initially, the life expectancy for adults with Down syndrome was less than 30 years old. Now, with medical and psychological care, adults with Down syndrome are living well into their sixties thanks in part to Advocate Medical Group's Adult Down Syndrome Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.