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March 4 Meg meets inaugural run’s success

Matt Barry sells t-shirts raise funds for Meg Moonan Endowment Fund March 4 Meg 5K Run/Walk. Barry his four brothers

Matt Barry sells t-shirts to raise funds for the Meg Moonan Endowment Fund at the March 4 Meg 5K Run/Walk. Barry, his four brothers and their father Jim formed a 200-member "Team Lucy" for the event in honor of Lucy Dinneen Barry who lost her fight against melanoma in February. | Supplied Photo

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Updated: May 1, 2014 7:39AM



The second annual March 4 Meg 5K Run/Walk in memory of Meg (Donovan) Moonan and her fight against melanoma was “still about Meg, but it’s more than that,” Nancy Donovan, Moonan’s mother said.

“We feel like we’re able to support other people.”

About 1,600 walkers and runners registered to benefit the Meg Moonan Endowment Fund for Melanoma Research in honor of Moonan and for their loved ones. Moonan, of Evergreen Park, died March 30, 2012.

During Moonan’s 19-month battle in which she traveled to Park Ridge for surgeries, chemotherapy and other treatments, Donovan saw a need for a medical facility on the South Side to treat melanoma patients.

As heartbroken as Donovan and her family was when Moonan died, Donovan decided the outcome of the tragedy should be a greater good.

Donovan and her four grown children and their spouses, her grandchildren, extended family and friends of Moonan held a March 4 Meg 5K Run/Walk on the first anniversary of Meg’s death to support melanoma research at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

In 2013, Donovan said, March 4 Meg raised $30,000 for the endowment fund. This year, March 4 Meg matched that amount.

Donovan said she “never thought we’d be able to do this again.”

“It has been extremely heartwarming and rewarding this year,” Donovan said. “We’ve worked really hard to get the word out. Our voices are being heard.”

This year’s event — while still in Meg’s memory — focused on the many families affected by melanoma, Donovan said.

“This year people have contacted us and shared their stories,” Donovan said. “That’s what’s different from last year.”

The family of Lucy Dinneen Barry was one of many that deeply touched the March 4 Meg team.

When Barry died of melanoma in February, leaving her husband, Jim and five sons — Kevin, 28; Matt, 25; Tom and Chris, 23, and Jimmy, 20 — to grieve, Donovan brought them into the March 4 Meg fold.

Matt Barry said his family knew there was “a lot of mutual respect and mutual compassion” after meeting Donovan and her family, and March 4 Meg gave them a positive outlet.

“They understand what we are going through and we understood what they had gone through,” Barry said. “It was a perfect fit.”

Advocate Christ Medical Center has held a Continuing Education Medical event on skin cancer, and skin cancer screenings are planned for the near future, CMC director of development Jason Keene, said.

Dr. Adam Riker, at Christ Medical Center, is working for approval by the Institutional Review Board of two immunotherapy clinical trials for patients with Stage 4, metastatic melanoma, both based on the melanoma vaccine trial Riker completed while at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

The endowment fund may also be used to assist patients who need help with basic needs such as transportation and medicine, representatives said.

Donovan has put time and energy into additional efforts to fight melanoma. She continues to beat the drum for awareness and prevention all year, speaking to groups of young people at schools and park district programs to warn kids of all ages about of the dangers of tanning beds and to teach about safety in the sun.

Donovan said people are “getting the message,” one she will continue to spread because “God dropped it into my lap.”

“I don’t look at this as altruistic,” Donovan said. “I look at this as my responsibility.”



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