In a weak economy, cancer is yet another challenge that has the ability to push a family further into poverty.
This realization led DuPage Township Supervisor Bill Mayer to again expand the realm of services offered by the branch of government closest to the people.
"I can’t think of one person who hasn’t been touched by someone who has fought or lost the battle to cancer," Mayer said. "You don’t have to be the one who has it. We’re all affected by cancer and we all can do something to help."
That sentiment led township staff to do their part, donating space Friday evening at the Bolingbrook-based Levy Center for a concert fundraiser to help raise awareness and contribute to cancer research.
Mary Gilliam and Christine Morgan were at the helm, arranging for performances by Rumor Has It and the ultra popular local band 7th Heaven. Together the ladies formed a the walking team "Touched by Angels."
Supported by a team of family and friends, all will work together to raise $8,000 (their team goal) before participating in Romeoville’s second annual Relay for Life which will be held June 30 on the grounds in front of the Village Hall, 1050 W. Romeo Road.
Gilliam, who has worked for the American Cancer Society since 2000, shares a personal link to its mission.
"I worked in the financial world before I got involved in 1996. I’ve had teams at different relays since then," she said. "Christine and I both have lost someone to cancer, my mom in 1994 and her aunt."
Adding a heightened urgency, Morgan’s father is currently battling cancer.
Gilliam has also taken on a leadership role for the Relay for Life, co-chairing the physical event with Dawn Caldwell, Romeoville’s Assistant Village Manager.
"We knew we wanted to have the concert," Gilliam said. "We’re just so grateful that the Township was open that. They have really proven that they stand behind their whole mission to support the community."
"The township kicked in and helped us pre-sell 300 tickets," Christine Morgan added. "We are $3,000 closer to our goal. Everyone has helped out so much. When we approached the bands manager they gave us a huge discount. Our team funnels up to the big event. This is just my second year but I’m enjoying what I’m doing and it’s for a really good cause!"
Bolingbrook will also sponsor a Relay for Life Event. If you are interested in participating, consider attending the event kickoff at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Center, 200 S. Lindsey Lane.
"The American Cancer Society is very near and dear to my heart," said Catherine Kalnicky, who is helping coordinate the event. "I am a one-year survivor and I am committed to working to get the community involved."