BEVERLY — A coalition of four different groups dedicated to fighting childhood cancer will be honored as grand marshal of the 2016 South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Collectively dubbed the South Siders Fighting Childhood Cancer, the group consists of the men and women behind Live Like John, Pat Mac’s Pack, Emily Beazley's Kures for Kids and the Maeve McNicholas Memorial Foundation.
The parade honoree will be the 100 Club of Chicago, which provides financial assistance and other support to first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. To date, the group has served 260 families to the tune of more than $9 million.
The grand marshals and honoree will all be announced at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Beverly Arts Center at 2407 W. 111th St. in Morgan Park. All four of the grand marshals have strong ties to the Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood communities.
• The John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, more commonly known as Live Like John, was founded after the tragic death of John McNicholas. The 15-year-old boy from North Beverly was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor on March 31, 2010, and died 10 months later. His mother, Amy McNicholas has been pushing for better treatment options ever since.
She hosts a series a series of fundraisers and awareness events, including an effort called Go Gray in May. Her fundraising led to a $500,000 donation on Dec. 1 to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. The result is a six-member team of doctors and researchers dedicated to finding the key to this deadly disease.
• Pat Mac's Pack is named in honor of Patrick Thomas McNamara. The student St. Barnabas School in Beverly died on Oct. 14, 2011, at age 13 after an 11-year battle with brain tumors. His parents, Tom and Dee McNamara, have worked diligently to keep the memory of their gregarious teen alive through fundraisers aimed at pediatric brain tumor research.
The latest event will be a fundraising party March 11. The event takes place the Friday before the South Side Parade marches down Western Avenue. The annual parade from 103rd to 115th streets begins at noon March 13.
• Emily Beazley's Kures for Kids was launched by Nadia and Ed Beazley after their daughter's four-year battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Emily, 12, of Mount Greenwood, died May 18. It was their daughter's dream to someday start a charity that would raise money and advocate for children just like herself.
Thus, the Beazleys continued to work with Dr. Jason Canner, a pediatric oncologist at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in suburban Oak Lawn. Canner worked directly with Emily and also founded The Cure It Foundation, a non-profit group that raises money to fund pediatric cancer research.
• The Maeve McNicholas Memorial Foundation is named for the 2-year-old daughter of Denise and Matt McNicholas of Morgan Park. Maeve McNicholas died on July 29, 2004 — just 36 hours after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Play for Maeve was an event held for a decade after her tragic death. The fundraiser took over Beverly Park and raised money for a variety of charities, including the Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn, Lurie Children's Hospital and a renovation of Beverly Park with matching funds from the Chicago Park District.
Organizers of the parade will also host a pre-parade fundraiser from 6-11 p.m. on Feb. 27 at 115 Bourbon Street. Tickets cost $30 for the event at 3359 W. 115th St. in south suburban Merrionette Park. Proceeds from the party help to offset the cost of the parade, which includes paying for added security officers, portable toilets and more.
For more information on the parade and the preparty, visit the South Side parade's website or call 773-916-7747.