SXU event aimed at raising money to fight cancer
BY GINGER BRASHINGER Correspondent July 21, 2014 1:52PM
Cicero firefighters Paul Lyttek, Steve Fiore, Joe Belgio and Pat Sammon take part in a tug-of-war at a previous Fire Up A Cure event. | Supplied photo
If you go ...
What: Fire Up A Cure fundraiser hosted by Cure It Foundation
When: From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: St. Xavier
University’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.
Information: For tickets, visit www.cureitfoundation.org or call (872) 222-5437.
For more information: Contact Stacy Dugger at (773) 208-3532 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: August 23, 2014 6:10AM
Fire Up A Cure is a “dream come true” for Dr. Jason Canner, division head of hematology/oncology at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital and founder in 2011 of the Cure It Foundation, a nonprofit organization which supports pediatric cancer research and supports children diagnosed with cancer.
The 2014 Fire Up A Cure will be held at St. Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Firefighters statewide will compete in a series of challenges to raise awareness and funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials and for local children battling cancer.
“I think that this is an event that has grown significantly over three years,” Canner said. “The first year it was a combination of establishing the event and raising money.”
In 2012, Canner said, about $13,000 was raised which benefited pediatric cancer research nationally.
“Last year we improved our efforts,” Canner said. The fundraising increased to about $35,000 and the number of people involved grew from 300 to 1,000, he said.
Some of Canner’s young cancer fighters will be honorary captains for the firefighter teams. Honorary captain Julia Pratte, 17, of Sugar Grove, is a young woman who knows something about perseverance.
Pratte, “one of the most amazing, most positive people I have ever met,” Canner said, was diagnosed last year with Ewing’s sarcoma.
Pratte is nearing the end of a lengthy treatment which often requires her to be in the hospital for a week at a time, but “she is always smiling and happy,” Canner said.
An avid Frank Sinatra fan, Pratte makes the most of the music and art therapies at the hospital, but she said she is looking forward attending the fundraiser “for a lot of reasons.”
“These events have a good cause — to make money to help kids beat cancer,” Pratte said. “I think that’s the best part.”
Second-grader Luke Amelio, 7, of Chicago, would agree. Luke has been in treatment for leukemia since 2012 and has a long but hopeful road ahead.
His mother, Jen Amelio, who thinks the fundraiser is a “pretty amazing event where people help families like ours,” said her son will complete treatment in 2016.
In the meantime, Luke’s favorite pastimes are building “flying cars” and other vehicles with Legos and just being a normal 7-year-old boy who would tell other children with cancer that ”things get better.”
The fundraiser events are family-friendly activities which include a fire truck pull, a hot wing-eating contest sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings, an obstacle course, inflatable jousting, tug-of-war, food vendors and more.
The fun is focused on the children. Their special activities will include an inflatable fire truck slide, obstacle course, fire pole, fire trucks to explore, face painting, photo booth and a balloon artist. A disc jockey will provide music and there will be performances by local dance troupes, cheerleading squads and a magician.
Canner said about half of the funds raised will go to specific needs of patients locally, especially a variety of physical reconditioning programs which allow kids to get back to sports and/or maintain a healthy body weight and physique.
Academic needs are also funded such as helping students prepare for ACT and SAT tests, online education and vocational training.
Funds raised this year, Canner said, will help support a 2015 scholarship for students who want to pursue a career in public safety as a first responder.
“We’re lucky to have this community and hope they feel lucky to have us,” Canner said. “I feel like the firefighters and people touched directly by pediatric cancer — doctors, nurses and family members — have really come together to bring an amazing event to St. Xavier’s. We have a really good time while trying to do our best to support these kids and let them live a normal life as much as they can.”
Tickets are $5 for kids, $10 for adults and $20 for family.
To buy tickets, visit
or call (872) 222-5437.
For more information, contact Stacy Dugger at (773) 208-3532 or email email@example.com.