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Saturday fundraiser set for Oak Forest family

Rich DeVries (right) is picture with his wife Listheir children Tar11 Coll10.  |  Supplied photo

Rich DeVries (right) is picture with his wife, Lisa, and their children, Tara, 11, and Collin, 10. | Supplied photo

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Updated: August 2, 2014 10:38PM



A fundraiser is planned for the family of an Oak Forest man who died after being diagnosed with an extremely rare combination of blood diseases.

Rich DeVries, who served in the Marines and died July 24 at 47, is being remembered as a caring father and a jovial man.

Rally for Rich, a benefit to help raise money for DeVries’ family, will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park.

While on a business trip, DeVries developed a sore throat that lasted for three weeks. Blood tests showed he had an extremely high white blood cell count.

In 2013, DeVries was diagnosed with Stage 3 T-Cell lymphoma. Over several months of being in and out of hospitals, he underwent chemotherapy and endured infections as he fought the lymphoma.

Just as it seemed DeVries was on the road to recovery, he was diagnosed with a second illness, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. During treatment, he succumbed to infections and died.

Raised in Mokena, DeVries was a star baseball player at Lincoln-Way High School before graduating in 1984 and joining the Marine Corps.

After serving, DeVries went to work for a tubing company in Chicago Heights and then for a Mokena liquor store, where he became reacquainted with a neighborhood friend, Chuck Evans.

The two became good buddies while working at the store, said Evans, 45, of New Lenox, adding that Devries loved people and was always clowning around.

“His priorities were people. He loved being the center of attention. He just made everybody feel better about themselves,” Evans said.

Evans said only four other people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with DeVries’ combination of diseases.

He said DeVries’ great love was his wife of 13 years, Lisa, and their two children, Tara, 11, and Collin, 10.

A hard worker, DeVries often would have to spend weekends away from his family while employed with the tubing company, Evans said.

He said that years after serving, DeVries remained proud of his service with the Marines.

More information about the fundraiser and how to donate is available at www.rallyforrich.com. Tickets are $35. Supporters can donate a raffle gift or donate directly through the website.



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