Biggio honors tradition started by cancer patient

December 16, 2009 7:26:01 AM PST
He's one of biggest names in Astros history, but it's not just about his stats. Craig Biggio is also known for his big heart. Sports Director Bob Allen has an inspiring story about how the Astros legend and his family are helping make sure a little girl's dream lives on.

Her name was Chloe and a form of cancer took her just two days before her ninth birthday. With the help of her family, her friends, and Craig Biggio and his family, Chloe's spirit lives on in each teddy bear handed out.

It happened Tuesday morning at the Clinical Care Unit at Texas Children's Hospital. Build-a-Bears for every sick child and it was all Chloe's idea.

"It came straight from her head. Build-a-Bear was one of Chloe's favorite things to do, to go to the stores and build bears. The first time she decided to do it for the patients was her first year that she spent in the hospital on chemotherapy which was December 2006. She said she knew she would be in the hospital that Christmas, but she also knew that she would not be the only one there so she wanted all the patients on the floor to have a bear. That's how it started," said Chloe's mother, Joyce Castillo. "Chloe physically went around and handed out the bears."

It just so happened that at the same time Chloe was in the hospital, Craig's son Connor was in Texas Children's successfully fighting a blood infection.

"We got a knock on the door and it's Chloe and her Dad. She doesn't recognize me, but the Dad does. He says, 'Chloe, this is one of the Astros.' And she goes, 'Is that my favorite player, Jeff Bagwell?' And I go, 'No I'm not, but he's my favorite player too," said Craig Biggio. "That's how we started a relationship. She's a very special girl. Unfortunately, she's not here anymore, she lost her fight, but we didn't want to see this go away."

Craig and Patti's daughter Quin had a birthday party with her friend Kaitlyn and instead of gifts, they asked for Build-a-Bear certificates and everyone made a bear. So did Chloe's friends and family and Tuesday they brightened up a lot of faces at that special time of year.

"It makes me feel really great to make other kids feel happy, even when they're sick," said Quin.

It's a tradition Chloe started and her family and the Biggios will see to it that. That's what Chloe wanted.

"We lost Chloe about 18 months ago, We want to continue to honor our daughter and her legacy. We know how much this meant to her," said Castillo.

Craig said, "One of her last days here, I brought Jeff Bagwell up and she got to meet him. They're a very special family and she was a tremendous girl."

For everyone who's helping continue Chloe's dream, one little lady said it all.

"Thank you!" she said.

Craig helped Chloe get involved with the Sunshine Kids and she participated as long as she could. A big heart in a little girl who was thinking of others. It's a real Christmas story.


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