Marian Catholic Raises Funds for Breast Cancer

Katie Ziltz ’11 (Crete), Jake Lorenz ’12 (Lansing), Jessica Jarosky ’11 (Dyer, IN), Brett Lilek ’12 (South Holland), Uzoma Nwabara ’11 (Olympia Fields), and Chandler Todd ’11 (Crete)
Among the 500 participants in Marian’s “Live Pink, Be Black and Gold” breast cancer fundraiser was Katie Ziltz ’11 (Crete), Jake Lorenz ’12 (Lansing), Jessica Jarosky ’11 (Dyer, IN), Brett Lilek ’12 (South Holland), Uzoma Nwabara ’11 (Olympia Fields), and Chandler Todd ’11 (Crete). (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)-  Roughly a third of the Marian Catholic population participated in a fundraising effort during Breast Cancer Awareness month. With proceeds benefitting Susan G. Komen For The Cure, students and faculty alike purchased Marian “Live Pink” t-shirts from Service Club members, moderated by Sister Dorothy Marie Solak, O.P.

“By asking everyone to pre-order their shirts, we knew almost immediately that nearly $5,000 would be raised,” Sister Dorothy said. “The Marian community has been deeply affected with relatives, staff and friends who have battled breast cancer, and we want to show our support in helping to find a cure.”

One of those staff members is Sandy Riley, Marian Catholic French teacher of 24 years, who was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago.

“I am lucky in the fact that my cancer was detected early,” she said. “Even though I had chemo and radiation therapies, I still taught most days. There were many students who had relatives or family friends going through the same thing at the time. They were so understanding and compassionate. The Marian community really helped me through the process.”

Riley continued, “Every person faces a cancer diagnosis differently, but I was terrified of losing my hair during the treatment. I purchased a wig, and asked my sister to shave my head before my hair fell out. That’s how we spent our Thanksgiving that year, having dinner and shaving my head.”

Riley now follows up with her oncologist once a year and has yearly mammograms. She encourages everyone to do monthly self-exams and get mammograms regularly.

Cathy DiGiovanni, now in her 30th year as a Marian Catholic art instructor, was moved to see so many students and staff wearing the “Live Pink” shirts.

“This community is great,” she said. “Given my personal experience with breast cancer over the past few years, it was really moving to see so much participation. Sometimes people don’t know the impact cancer has on a family, but they still try to understand and show support.”

Marian Catholic President, Sister Judine Hilbing, O.P., echoes similar thoughts.

“The effects of breast cancer are widespread and the devastation to families is significant. It becomes personal to support a cause when you know the people who have been affected. When you care with other people who care, it strengthens the bond,” she said.