FOX 32 NEWS - It’s a ceremony that was 108 years in the making. But an usher who works at Wrigley Field needed some special medical attention to get his World Series ring on time.
“They were giving out the rings on Monday, from what I was told, and I wanted to be there with it,” said Don Vlcek.
For nearly 19 years, Vlcek has worked as an usher at Wrigley field. The 88-year-old retired printer was looking forward to Monday night, April 17th, when Cubs employees would get their World Series rings. But on the Friday before that ceremony, he became ill.
“I was getting sweating, and I was starting to feel a little here, and I woke my grandson up and said, I think there's something wrong with me,” Vlcek said.
“He has a history of heart disease. And he came in with a very bad heart rhythm that could be potentially lethal for him,” said Dr. Ray Kawasaki of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
On that Friday, Vlcek was given an angiogram, and surgery to receive a defibrillator was scheduled for Monday, that is, until he mentioned that he was hoping to get his World Series ring on Monday night.
“So then we decided as a team that we could come in on Saturday morning, when we're not here, and we would give it, implant it, and then send him home on Sunday so that that way, on Monday he can get it,” said cardiac nurse Toni Bartels.
So on Saturday, Vlcek was brought to the Cath Lab where doctors implanted a defibrillator which will protect against any future life threatening rhythm issues.
Vlcek was discharged on Sunday and then made it to Wrigley on Monday when Cub employees, other than players, could pick up their rings. The lifelong Cubs fan, who even attended the 1945 World Series, returned to Advocate Lutheran General on Thursday to thank the staffers who got him to the ballpark on time.
“As I say, the doctors here, the nurses here, they're great,” Vlcek said.
“This was unbelievable. I mean to be a part of this, that allows him to be a part of something he's been waiting his whole life for, I mean very rarely do you get to be a part of the big picture and do that for someone,” said paramedic Jeff Goldfarb.
Vlcek says jokingly it might have been the Cubs World Series run last year that started his heart problems.