Chicago Bears surprise teen brain tumor survivor

Karen Jordan Image
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Nearly one year ago, Luke Vugrin was diagnosed with a small, benign tumor deep in his brain.

OAK LAWN, Illinois -- Advocate Health Care in Oak Lawn teamed up with the Chicago Bears to give a 15-year-old brain tumor survivor a surprise Monday.

A surprise party with all the bells and whistles greeted Luke Vugrin and his family at Advocate Health Care. Luke initially didn't realize the fanfare was all for him.

"I thought, 'Maybe they're just standing there for everyone,'" he said. "Then I saw the sign that said Vugrin family, and I said, 'Oh, this is for me.'"

And by all accounts, Luke deserves the celebration.

Nearly one year ago, he was diagnosed with a small, benign tumor deep in his brain. It affected his vision and other bodily functions. It was removed, but doctors say Luke will need continuous observation.

"He's a trooper, and we're happy to see him do so well," Dr. Dimitrios Nikas said.

Doctors and staff at advocate health care rallied around the Vugrin family, where three out of Gina Vugrin's four children receive treatment for various illnesses.

"They've been through a lot and i can't think of another family more deserving," said Cristina Enea, of Advocate.

The hospital, which has a partnership with the Chicago Bears, called on the team to help give the Vugrin family a day they would not forget.

First, they were driven to Soldier Field in a limo bus. Then, they were given a tour of the stadium and got a chance to check out the locker room.

Luke took a picture next to the locker of his favorite player, Tarik Cohen. Then, he got a chance to walk on the field, where Luke and his family took more pictures, and were greeted by Cohen himself.

Then they were treated to a shopping spree at the pro shop, where Cohen helped pick out some merchandise.

"That really means a lot to me to be a bright spot in their lives somewhere," Cohen said.

It's a bright spot in what Gina Vugrin said has been a tough year with lots of ups and downs. She said she's thankful for the special attention.

"I knew this was going to be a big surprise, and I was so excited for Luke," she said. "But I didn't know it was going to be all of this."