04/08/2017 10:43 AM
LISLE, IL – The Bulls/Sox Academy announced that this summer it will have a very special award named after long-time Academy member and inspirational athlete, Michael Gustafson. Michael Gustafson passed away January 6, 2013 at the age of fifteen after a five year battle with medullabastoma. The Naperville North High School freshman had been a participant at the Bulls/Sox Academy since he was nine, participating in basketball, baseball and Explosion sports conditioning programs.
"Michael Gustafson was one of the most inspirational people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. He loved playing sports and he gave it his all, every day. With all of the obstacles he faced, he still had a smile on his face,” said Dan Schaffer, Baseball Instructor for the Bulls/Sox Academy, who worked closely with Michael. “He defined selflessness. Michael participated in Relay for Life and had 3 Lock-Ins at the Academy for his birthday. Instead of presents, each year he asked his friends to donate to cancer research. His dedication ended up raising over $30,000 for Relay for Life. “
The Michael Gustafson Courage Award will be awarded at over 300 White Sox and Chicago Bulls summer camps throughout the season. The recipient of the award will be chosen by the summer camp lead instructor to the one athlete at each camp with the best all-around attitude who maximizes his/her ability, overcomes challenges, and deals with adversity.
“Our coaches work with kids every day. Our mission is to inspire kids through sports and teach valuable life skills along the way: persistency, courage, sportsmanship, and leadership. Michael Gustafson embodied all of those qualities and became the teacher; inspiring our staff, our coaches, and every athlete who had the good fortune to come into contact with him,” stated Xan Pearson, Bulls/Sox Academy President. “It was only fitting that we honor his memory by creating the Courage Award in his name. I can’t think of a better role model who exemplified the Academy values and mission.”