Both Oak Lawn high schools will hit the streets running the next two weekends to raise money for serious illnesses.
The 5th annual Sully Shuffle is set for Sunday and will run through the neighborhood adjacent to Oak Lawn Community High School.
The following Sunday, Richards High School’s second Run With the Bulldogs will be held in support of the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation, which provides free toys and gift cards to children and teens undergoing cancer treatment.
The POTC foundation was founded 10 years ago by Orland Park resident Colleen Kisel, who bought a small toy for her son each time he faced another round of chemotherapy during his successful battle with lymphocytic leukemia.
It is the only charity of its kind in the nation and serves many hospitals throughout the Chicago area, including Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn.
The inaugural 5K run raised $11,000 for the charity.
Running with Bulldogs begins at 8 a.m. at Richards and proceeds through the neighborhood east of the high school. Interested participants can register for $25 at www.runwiththedogs.com.
Run With the Bulldogs was conceived by Richards teacher Bob Beck, who has invested hundreds of hours of personal time planning and organizing the event.
“The idea of giving a child a gift after their treatment gives them a piece of hope every time they visit the hospital,” Peck said. “It gives them a chance to still feel like a kid and have enjoyment during a day that might seem gloomy by spending it in a hospital.”
The goal of the Treasure Chest Foundation is the same as the day it was founded, Kisel said.
“When a child must endure the rigors of cancer treatment, there is little anyone can do to take away the pain,” she said. “However, through the efforts of the Treasure Chest Foundation, children are provided with comfort and distraction during the times they need it most. It is our goal to keep these treasure chests full of toys so that each time a child needs that distraction, it’s there.”
The Sully Shuffle is a 5K run/3K walk named after Skip Sullivan, a retired Oak Lawn High School teacher and coach, who has been fighting Parkinson’s disease for nine years.
The run has raised $93,000 over the past four years, and organizers are hoping to raise an additional $15,000 to $20,000 this year. Proceeds are donated to the Midwest chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
The mini shuffle starts at 8:30 a.m. on the school track followed by the run/walk at 9 a.m. on Austin Avenue. The post party will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Homestead Barr, 9306 S. Central Ave.
Approximately 120 runners and 150 walkers are registered for the event. Interested participants can register at www.sullyshuffle.org or from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday at Deja Brew, 5219 W. 95th St. Registration also will be accepted beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.
The registration fee is $30 for the walk and $35 for the run. Walkers and runners both will receive a t-shirt and bag. The fee for the mini shuffle is $15 and includes a shirt. The cost of the post party is $30 and includes beer, wine and soda.
Raffle prizes include three sets of Bears tickets, a 60-inch LG plasma TV, Cubs tickets and many raffle baskets. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the run/walk or at the post party.
Sullivan is a 1969 graduate of Oak Lawn High School. He was a three-sport varsity athlete in football, basketball and baseball. He continued his football and baseball careers at Iowa State University.
He retired from teaching in 2006 and continued as part-time athletic director and head baseball coach until 2008. He is a member of the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame after a 14-year tenure as head coach at Oak Lawn.