Fundraiser to help mom’s family participate in breast cancer walk
By Michelle Linn-Gust For The Sun January 7, 2013 2:28PM
Maureen Milano is flanked by her family at the 2012 Avon Cancer Walk. From left to right: sister Kathy, mom Carol, dad John, daughter Ally, Maureen, daughters Kristin and Megan, husband Paul. | Submitted
At A Glance
What: Fundraiser for Maureen Milano’s family to help them participate in the 2013 Avon Breast Cancer Walk
When: 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 9
Where: Black Finn, 16 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville
To make a donation: Make checks out to Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and mail to Maureen Milano, 343 Redbud Drive, Naperville, or donate online at www.avonwalk.org
Updated: February 10, 2013 6:14AM
Everyone wants to help Maureen Milano.
The 46-year-old recently was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer — the second time she’s dealt with the disease.
Her husband of 24 years, Paul, dyed his hair pink for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on June 1-2 in downtown Chicago.
A high school friend created 200 “Team Milano” T-shirts that will be for sale at a Feb. 9 Black Finn fundraiser.
And Milano talks highly of the excellent care she is getting at the Edward Cancer Center.
Milano knows that each day is a gift, and she and her family are trying to laugh as much as they can and appreciate each other.
“I’m trying to shove everything in while I can because I feel OK,” Milano said.
Her mother, Carol Corrigan, remembers her middle child as the one who clung to her leg, “my attachment,” she said.
Friend Pam Klick calls Milano her “angel here on earth.”
Klick was surprised that Milano called her the first time around. Milano was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in February 2004. While the two women, both 1984 graduates of Naperville North High School, were friends, Klick knew they weren’t that close. Turns out, the call was serendipitous.
“I thought, I have got to do something for (the Milano family),” Klick said.
She called Milano’s husband, Paul, also a 1984 graduate of North, who said that their insurance wouldn’t cover wigs for Milano and that set Klick to raising the funds for it. With the $600 she gathered, they were able to buy a wig and meals for the family while Milano underwent chemotherapy.
Not long after, Klick also was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she believes that, because of Milano, it was caught early. Klick was more aware of the possibilities because of her friend.
“We were a support system for each other,” she said of their mutual experience. “I know that she saved my life, and I’ve been able to see my daughter grow up. I totally attribute that to her.”
While Klick has been cancer free all these years, last summer Milano’s cancer came back, and she was diagnosed with Stage 4. In November, a scan revealed it had migrated into her liver.
This time Klick knew she wanted to do something much bigger for her friend and worked with Milano’s neighbor Sara Serbinski to set up a fundraiser to help the entire Milano family do the Avon walk this year.
Milano has walked eight times, supporting the cause and research also because she has lost three friends to it. Several times, various family members have joined her but none at the same time.
“Since this is my first year with Stage 4, we all said we have to walk,” Milano said. “And I will as long as I’m alive and healthy to do it.”
To walk, each person must raise $1,800. Milano, plus husband Paul, and three daughters: Megan, 20; Ally, 19; and Kristin, 17, must raise $9,000 to make this dream a reality.
“I couldn’t do something little,” Klick said of the fundraiser that will include a 50-50 auction, a silent auction and three renamed drinks just for Milano.
They also don’t want to just raise $9,000, they hope to exceed the amount and send the family on a trip.
“Nine-thousand dollars is a huge amount of money, and my friends stepped in to help me get it,” Milano said.
Milano doesn’t take anything for granted. She wants to continue to help others by walking, but she knows that there is uncertainty in her future.
“I watched three friends die from it; I know how quickly things can change,” Milano said. “While I feel good, I want to do as much as I can. There is a fine line between being hopeful and realistic. Someone gets miracles. Why not me?”