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Classmates wear 'Joey Strong' shirts to support three-year-old with cancer

Classmates wear 'Joey Strong' shirts to support three-year-old with cancer
Classmates wear 'Joey Strong' shirts to support three-year-old with cancer 00:43

CHICAGO (CBS) -- On Wednesday, a three-year-old boy battling cancer in suburban Bloomingdale received a big show of love and support from his very enthusiastic preschool classmates.

Ryan Mcpherrin

While Joey Burdi isn't currently able to attend preschool, students honored him by wearing "Joey Strong" tee-shirts for the first time to school and holding a "Joey Strong" rally.


The sales of those shirts helped to raise more than $5,200, which will be donated to the Burdi family.

Below is a letter from Joey's father, thanking the community for its support:

My family and I would like to extend our deepest regards to Joey's school, the CCSD93 Early Childhood Center, and Heather Santiemmo, for their thoughtfulness and commitment. We appreciate their efforts in bringing the school and our community together to support our son's fight. We also want to extend our gratitude to St. Walters School in Roselle, for their continued support of our other two children Carmine and Giulia. Also, thank you Bloomingdale Bears Football, Bloomingdale Police Dept., Bloomingdale Fire Dept., and the first-responder community for coming together to support Joey. 

Joey has received the very best care. From his initial surgery at St. Alexius Hospital in Barrington by Dr. Bertoglio in 2021, through his current care at Lurie Children's Hospital. We are grateful for all the doctors, nurses, and staff that continue to fight for Joey.

We would also like to take this opportunity to bring awareness to the limited availability of treatment options for children battling rare cancers like Joey. He suffers from a rare disease most commonly known as Rhabdomysarcoma. Chemotherapy is the only option currently available. With this treatment, Joey will need a miracle to survive. 

More needs to be done to help Joey and all patients battling this devastating disease. We live in a revolutionary time for medicine. We need to rewrite the book on how to treat cancer and tackle this with tenacity and critical thinking. The chemotherapy drugs that Joey is receiving were invented in the 1950's and 1960's. That does not seem good enough. With all of the advancements in modern medicine, we hope that our miracle will come true. We hope that science and medicine will come together and explore new ways to cure and finally defeat cancer.

Please consider supporting the following organizations in childhood cancer community:

Bear Necessities Pediatric -

Cal's Angels -

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