It takes a special sort of cancer patient to laugh instead of cry when she goes to put on mascara and realizes there’s no reason to because she’s lost her eyelashes.
Or to name the two tubes that send chemo into her body “Simon and Garfunkel.” But that was former Long Grove and Highland Park resident Lisa Klitzky.
In 2001, Lisa was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare pediatric form of soft tissue cancer. The illness is usually discovered in children. Because Lisa was diagnosed so late, she was only given a 20% chance for survival.
Unfortunately, Lisa didn’t make it. She was just 25 years old when she lost her battle with cancer on August 26, 2002. “Lisa was the nicest one of our group in high school,” says Vicky Maher, one of Lisa’s closest friends. “After high school, she was the Mother Hen who made sure we all stayed in touch.”
After her death, Lisa’s parents, David and Marlowe Klitzky, started the Lisa Klitzky Foundation to support adolescent cancer survivors facing long-term physical and psychological challenges in their post-treatment years. All money raised by the foundation goes to The University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where cancer specialists treat over 3,000 children per year, and where Lisa received treatment.
The foundation has raised funds in a variety of ways over the past eight years. Last year, Kings of Leon played a benefit at House of Blues. On August 22, the foundation is hosting their second annual Day at the Races at Arlington Park.
The $70 entry fee ($15 for children ages 4-11) includes admission to the park, lunch, beer and wine. A silent auction will also take place during the day.
“Tons of businesses have donated,” Maher, co-chair of the event, says. “We have about 120 items right now, including airline tickets to anywhere in the US, a hotel stay in Napa Valley, Blackhawk tickets and restaurant gift certificates.”
Last year, the foundation raised $50,000 at the horseracing event. “We hope to raise even more this year,” Maher says.
How to Get Involved:
Buy tickets for the race event
Buy an ad in the event program for the race.
Can’t come to the event? You can still donate any amount to the foundation.
Purchase ad space in their quarterly newsletter.
The foundation has pledged $50,000 to the hospital for the next three years. Any contributions are welcome to help them meet that goal.
Photo credit: Lisa Klitzky Art Gallery