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Beverly Breast Cancer Walk Ready To Take Over The Streets on Mother's Day

 The Beverly Breast Cancer Walk returns to the tree-lined streets of Longwood Drive at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The three-mile walk begins and ends at Ridge Park.
The Beverly Breast Cancer Walk returns to the tree-lined streets of Longwood Drive at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The three-mile walk begins and ends at Ridge Park.
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BEVERLY — Tell your mom to take a hike this Mother's Day. Better yet — go with her.

The Beverly Breast Cancer Walk steps off at 8 a.m. Sunday from Ridge Park. The annual three-mile walk begins and ends at 9625 S. Longwood Drive.

Some 14,000 people are expected at the walk, which benefits Little Company of Mary Hospital's cancer center, Comprehensive Breast Health Center and mammography department.

The walk has raised more than $4 million over the last 15 years for the hospital in neighboring Evergreen Park.

The Beverly Breast Cancer Walk began in 2000 as an off-shoot of Y-Me's then-preeminent Mother's Day Race Against Breast Cancer. Carol Moriarty, who is a breast cancer survivor, her sister Nancy Mulcah, and friend Lisa O’Brien opted to walk in their neighborhood rather than make the trek downtown.

Howard Ludwig says the walk had humble beginnings:

What began as a modest stroll has evolved into the biggest such event in the Chicago area as the rise of the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk followed the abrupt shutdown of Y-Me in 2012.

Organizers of the Mother's Day event in Beverly have gladly taken up the torch. Residents along the route entertain passers-by with music from garage bands, Irish dancing and exercise demonstrations.

Then there's the clever decorations such as strings of bras hanging between the trees and banners celebrating both breast cancer survivors and loved ones who've succumbed to the disease.

One of the many casualties of breast cancer was Lynn Schwab, of Morgan Park. Schwab was battling breast cancer five years ago at Little Company of Mary when her son, Jason Schwab, and his friends secretly organized a large group to walk in support of his mom.

"She was hilarious and crazy and funny and awesome. Our team is named Team Mama Schwab because that's what we called her for the last 20 years: Mama Schwab," said Mary Fitzpatrick Duleba, a friend of Jason Schwab and one of the original team members.

Before she died, Mama Schwab was supposed to walk with the group. Her son led her to believe that about eight close friends would be there. In fact, there were almost 200 people at the walk, and their team was among the top grossing participants that year.

"It was an awesome showing for an awesome lady," Duleba said.

But Schwab got sick just days before the walk and ended up back in the hospital. Undeterred, team members called her throughout the walk, showered her with pictures from the event and made it a point to visit her in the days afterward.

Schwab died about month later on Father's Day. And despite her children all living out of state, Team Mama Schwab still surfaces every Mother's Day to celebrate the woman who inspired so many of them, Duleba said.

Preregistration for the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk is available online. It costs $30 for adults and $15 for children 18 and younger. Participants can also register on the day of the event for an additional $5.

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