ROGERS PARK — Surrounded by friends, including Cook County judges and the Cook County Clerk, an ill David Fagus said he was "enormously grateful" for the help he's received while suffering from end-stage kidney disease.
"When you're really down and need some help," said the 49th Ward committeeman, "you really find out who your friends are — I think my friends came through."
Fagus, who's been out of work for a year after his 10-year-old kidney transplant failed, said he's relied on his savings to pay for dialysis and other treatment while he waits for a new kidney.
But complications with his blood pressure have kept him off the transplant list. He said he hopes upcoming tests would convince doctors his body has the strength to support a new kidney.
"It's great to have everyone together today," Moore said at the benefit. "He spent many years toiling in the background on behalf of progressive politics."
Moore also set up a fundraising campaign online, which had raised more than $11,000 by Tuesday.
"It's the least we can do for someone who's helped so many people for so many years," Moore said.
Michael James, another champion of the progressive movement in Rogers Park and part owner of the Heartland Cafe, said Fagus joined the progressive democrat movement following the first election of Moore in 1991.
"We hope David gets better," said James. "He's been a real force for the progressive movement."
Cook County Clerk David Orr, a former 49th Ward alderman, was also at the benefit, alongside several county judges.
"People up here care," he said. "I just hope it's enough."
Fagus said he mustered the strength to attend the benefit to thank all those who have helped him over the past year.
Oasis provided two free drinks for those who donated and J.B. Albertos supplied several pizzas, while Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who wasn't able to attend the benefit, donated four season ticket seats to the Cubs' series against the Texas Rangers.
Moore auctioned them off to the highest bidders.
"I'm enormously grateful for their kindness, their generosity and their friendship," Fagus said.
"I can't thank you enough."