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Petzel: Bowling fundraiser set in memory of OLCHS teen

The third annual Tim Nickos Memorial Scholarship Candlelight Bowl is scheduled for 8 p.m. March 22 Fox Bowl 1101 Butterfield

The third annual Tim Nickos Memorial Scholarship Candlelight Bowl is scheduled for 8 p.m. March 22 at Fox Bowl, 1101 Butterfield Road, Wheaton. | Supplied photo

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Greetings, fellow Oak Lawnians! The 3rd annual Tim Nickos Memorial Scholarship Candlelight Bowl will be held at 8 p.m. March 22 at Fox Bowl, 1101 Butterfield Road in Wheaton.

Tim Nickos was just 17 when he passed away at home on June 28, 2011 from an undiagnosed heart condition. He had just finished his junior year at Oak Lawn Community High School and was looking forward to his senior year.

Dale Nickos, Tim’s father, said his son liked to do the same things that most boys that age did, but there were a few things he was passionate about.

“For sure, swimming, marching band and all band activities and the Indy racing car circuit. He loved video games. He’d play video games all hours of the day or night,” Nickos said.

Tim likely followed his father’s passion when it came to car racing.

“My dream job is racing cars, but being Tim’s father was the best job I ever did,” he said. “In school, Tim liked sciences and social studies. He struggled with school a little until Liz (Nejdl) came along. He and Liz dated for well over a year. If he liked a teacher, he did good in that class.”

Tim was looking forward to his future and was considering a career in either engineering or enlisting in the Marines, like his mom, Heidi Light, a former Marine.

“We never knew Tim had an enlarged heart until the autopsy results came back,” his dad said. “There was no family history of the condition. It only can come from a heart defect, and the heart ends up working twice as hard. Some of the symptoms are nausea and shortness of breath, which is what you experience after physical activities and exercise anyway. It was a hard one to catch.”

Nickos wanted to learn more about Tim’s condition to prevent other families from going through the same thing. That’s when his family learned about the Young Hearts for Life organization (YH4L.org) that promotes and offers cardiac screenings to high school and college students at risk for sudden cardiac death, which claims the lives of 60 young adults every week.

Getting the word out on YH4L.org’s electrocardiogram screening, which helps detect potentially life-threatening heart conditions, became Nickos’ cause. He and Oak Lawn High officials worked hard to bring the screening program to the school, which is scheduled for March 20.

“We worked on it a couple of years to get it done. (District 229 Supt.) Mike Riordan, the school board and lots of other people shared my passion,” Nickos said. “This kept me going. For me, it was a huge emotional win. Doing something like this brings the community together, it saves lives and it keeps Tim’s memory alive.”

After Tim’s death, Nickos, who bowls competitively, spent a lot of time at Fox Bowl, which is owned by family friends.

“I took a month off after Tim passed and spent time at the bowling alley just talking to people,” he said.

Because of that, a candlelight bowl seemed like the perfect event to keep Tim’s memory alive and fund the scholarship program.

Tickets for the vent are $25 for students, $30 for adults and include dinner and three games of bowling. For tickets or more information, visit the school’s website at www.olchs.org, www.timnickosscholarship.com or contact Dale Nickos at 708-267-2560.

Here are this week’s celebrity birthdays: Happy seventh birthday to Gavin Rybicki from his parents, Sara and Frank. Happy birthday to Lorna Suchy, who’s turning 9, from her parents and grandparents. Birthday wishes go out to Trevor Guagenti and Jessica Smith, who are both turning 11; Brooke Wills, who’s turning 12; and Tyler Guagenti, who’s 14, from their grandparents, Sandy and Dave Wills.

Happy 12th birthday to Grace Chafee from her grandparents. A happy birthday to Michael Cupicciotti, who’s turning 13, from his parents, brother Nicholas and proud grandparents. Hoping that Joshua Wood has a great 14th birthday are his grandparents. Happy birthday to Lauren Misner, who’s turning 18, and to her sister, Rebecca, who’s turning 21, from their parents, grandmothers Lois and Jackie and Uncle Tom.

Happy 21st birthday to John Sasala from his parents and sister Michelle. T.J. Budka’s family wishes him a happy 27th birthday. A happy 38th to Kevin Carlsen from his mom, Dawn, Thelma and Louise. Her family and friends wish Gina Iacoponi a wonderful birthday. Sotiri Grimanis sends birthday wishes to his wife, Judy.

Happy birthday to Carrie Smith from Jerry, Kristan and the family critters. Birthday wishes go out to Arlene “Reenie” Powell from Dave Gajda (“the polka man”) and her friends. Laurie Belin wishes her husband, Bob, a happy birthday. And Pat McHugh’s family offer hearty best wishes for his 90th birthday.

Wedding anniversary wishes go out to the following couples — Joe and Lorraine McGuire from their family, and Jim and Terry Simon ,who are celebrating their 46th anniversary, from their family and friends.

Keep your fellow Oak Lawnians informed about birthdays, special events or special “stuff”going on with your family or within the community. Call me at (708) 899-9544 or email me at the address above.

Until next time ...



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