ROGERS PARK — Family and friends of an off-duty police officer struck and killed by a cab on Sheridan Road last year plan to start a scholarship for students attending a suburban Catholic high school.
Michael Schaefer died in October after he left Oasis bar to walk home to his Glenwood Avenue condo. When he stepped out onto Sheridan Road, he was hit by a taxi.
A fundraiser was planned for Friday night to form a scholarship "so he can continue to impact people, even though he’s no longer with us," said Schaefer's sister, Lindsey Kilsdonk.
Schaefer, who was a 34-year-old officer for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, loved Rogers Park and worked as a lifeguard at Loyola Beach during the summer, Kilsdonk said.
The scholarship is planned to help students pay for tuition at Loyola Academy, a Jesuit high school in Wilmette.
Kilsdonk said Schaefer went to the high school and at one time thought about becoming a Jesuit priest.
"It really changed his life," Kilsdonk said.
She said Schaefer, who was always quick to come to the aid of a friend, "embodied" the Jesuit mission of helping others.
"It almost bothered him at times because he thought he could always do more," she said.
Kilsdonk and other family members are working to establish a nonprofit organization, called "Michael's Mission," to administer the scholarships and hold an annual fundraiser.
"We want to help pay for tuition for the students who can’t afford Loyola — for people struggling to make ends meet," she said.
She said they've already raised $10,000 of their $16,000 goal.
Her brother's death has been "extremely hard on all of us, especially my mom," Kilsdonk said. "We’re happy that he can still have an impact on others."
The fundraiser is planned for 6 p.m. Friday at Fairway Banquets, 6676 W. Howard St. in Niles.