A two-year-old cancer patient was unable to go home and celebrate his birthday due to the rioting and looting in Chicago that eventually targetted the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital where he was staying.
According to WBBM, Owen Buell, who suffers from Stage 4 neuroblastoma, was slated to head back to his home in Joliet to “cake and ice cream” for his birthday. Those plans were dashed as rioting and looting broke out in the city.
“We were going to have cake and ice cream and do some presents at home with his siblings and his grandma,” said Owen’s mother, Valerie Mitchell.
“We got a phone call from the nurse saying that none of the nurses could make it in for safety concerns and they didn’t want any families in the middle of that trying to walk into Lurie’s,” Mitchell said.
Rioters and looters targeted the Ronald McDonald house early Monday morning. Owen’s mother described how unsafe she felt for her child. The unfortunate event on top of his cancer and the global pandemic only further heightened her stress.
“The whole door was shattered and it looked like a bullet hole, so I started freaking out thinking about how unsafe that was. You shouldn’t feel that way when your kid needs medical care. You shouldn’t be afraid to walk a few blocks down the street,” she said.
“I ask myself why can he not just have cancer? Why does there have to be coronavirus with it? Why is there all this protesting? I just feel like a lot of this stuff really makes it worse for him and our family. If he was going through treatment a year ago his siblings would be able to come here,” she exclaimed.
Owen’s family will hopefully be returning to the center for another round of treatment next month after going home in the next few days.
People on social media voiced their support of little Owen and his predicament.
“Meet Owen Buell. Owen is 2 and has brain cancer. He also couldn’t go home to celebrate his birthday because his white privilege means looters can vandalize the Chicago Ronald McDonald house where he and his parents stay WHILE THE FAMILIES ARE INSIDE,” exclaimed one outrage Twitter user.
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh shared Owen’s GoFundMe page and asked people to donate if they could.
“2-year-old Owen has cancer. He was supposed to have his birthday party a few days ago but it was canceled because of riots in Chicago. The Ronald McDonald House where he’s staying was hit by looters. This is his Go Fund Me. Help if you can,” he tweeted.
2-year-old Owen has cancer. He was supposed to have his birthday party a few days ago but it was canceled because of riots in Chicago. The Ronald McDonald House where he's staying was hit by looters. This is his Go Fund Me. Help if you can. https://t.co/I4U5bKEad1
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) August 12, 2020
Owen Buell has stage 4 neuroblastoma and was supposed to celebrate his second birthday at home in Joliet. Instead, Monday morning’s looting downtown kept him from being discharged from Lurie Children’s Hospital. Hear his story today on @WBBMNewsradio pic.twitter.com/L3XZU7WqRR
— Rachel Pierson (@WBBMRachel) August 11, 2020
Following the riots, Chicago Black Lives Matter defended the looting as an act of reparations for white supremacy. They did not explain how innocent children benefitting from the Ronald McDonald House factored into that equation.
“I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats,” said Ariel Atkins, an organizer for Chicago Black Lives Matter, “That makes sure that person has clothes.”
“That is reparations,” she continued. “Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.”