Young Chicago patients make trip of a lifetime to see Cubs in Mesa

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FOX 32 NEWS - The Cubs haven't played a game yet this year, but they've already hit a home run with some kids from the Chicago area.

Nine children with serious health issues were headed to Arizona Tuesday to join the Cubs at spring training camp.

The kids and their families took off from O’Hare, kicking off a "Kids, Cubs and Cactus” road trip.

"It's really a dream come true for her and a dream come true for us,” said Dan Gryson

Dan and Olivia Gryson are among the patients and parents from Advocate Children’s Hospital who say baseball truly is the best medicine.

"I'm really excited and I really can't wait to meet all the Cubs players,” Olivia said.

FOX 32: Who do you really want to see?

"Kris Bryant,” Olivia said.

"It's incredible. The fact she gets to do something like this is unbelievable. And to be able to see them the year after they win the World Series?” Dan said.

Saida Trznadel, 11, couldn't believe it when she learned she'd be meeting the Cubs.

"First I thought my parents were teasing me because they tease me so much. I was like, ha, good one. What? And then I started freaking out. I'm like what?” Saida said.

The Cubs and American Airlines are picking up the tab for the trip: 35 people, including the kids, their parents, some nurses and even a doctor.

"Tomorrow morning we go to Sloane Park. We have breakfast on the patio. We have a ton of activities planned for the kids. We have some player interactions. We have some pictures on the field,” said Cristina Enea of Advocate Health Care.

For patients like 14-year-old Talia Freund, who's battling cancer and undergoing chemo, the Cubs trip is a chance to be a kid again.

"It's a much needed break,” mom said.

"And it lifts my spirits a lot. Cause I'm always just kind of down lately. Having fun with the hospital and stuff really helps,” Talia said.

"Although they might have different diseases or different name tags applied to them, what they are is just kids who want to enjoy and have fun and be treated like kids,” said Dr. Joanna Lewis.

The kids and their families will head home to Chicago Wednesday night.