Meg Moonan lost her battle to melanoma two years ago, but the Evergreen Park resident’s life will be recalled Saturday during the second March4Meg 5K run.
The run was conceived by Moonan’s mother, Nancy Donovan, who embarked on a personal mission to help find for a cure for the disease.
The run will step off at 9 a.m. from Klein Park (known as Circle Park) at 97th Street and Homan Avenue in Evergreen Park. Registration is $30 or $65 for families.
Organizers are looking forward to a significant turnout following the success of last year’s inaugural event, which drew approximately 1,600 participants and raised $30,000 for the Meg Moonan Endowment Center at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
“We’ve been successful because of all our volunteers and participants and because people are realizing the serious nature of melanoma, whether it’s impacting them directly or a family member or friend,” Donovan said. “Meg would have wanted us to make this our responsibility to alert others.”
Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton and his wife, Karen, are the honorary chairs of the event.
“While the first event was spectacular because of the turnout, any follow-up event is a challenge because the originality is gone,” Sexton said. “However, the mission is not, and that’s why Karen and I are supporting this event and imploring everyone to as well.”
Donovan and her family didn’t know what to expect when they organized the first March4Meg. The goal was simply to raise awareness of the deadly skin cancer and establish an endowment center in Meg’s name.
Organizers anticipate more participants than last year and encourage people to arrive early to take advantage of free skin checks and entertainment. Race-day registration will be available from 7 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
Moonan left behind her husband, Ken, and four young children. Her mother rallied the extended family to the emotional rescue of Ken and the children by filling in as baby sitters, housekeepers and shoppers, she said.
“We were all under such cloud I knew we had to do something to get us out of this dark place,” Donovan said.
In addition to establishing the event, Donovan has increased awareness with demonstrations at summer camps and schools, instructing children on the importance of sunscreen and wearing correct clothing when playing in the sun.
Donovan also want to raise awareness for a disease that impacts those 15 to 29 years old more than does any other type of cancer.
Race director Meredith McGuffage hopes others who have been victimized by melanoma will find solace in the event by participating individually or as a group.
For example, the Barry and Dinneen families lost Lucy Dinneen Barry to melanoma earlier this year and have used the grieving period to establish Team Lucy, which will participate in the race. The Beverly native and Naperville resident died Feb. 1 after a four-month battle with melanoma.