Patrick Thomas McNamara was only 13 years old when he died following an 11+ year battle with recurrent brain tumors. During his battle, family and friends – his “pack” — began raising funds and awareness for pediatric brain tumor research. In 2014, Pat Mac’s Pack officially became a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to assisting young cancer patients.
Through annual events like Pat Mac’s Pack St. Patrick’s Day Party at St. Barnabas (coming up on Mar. 6) and the Pat Mac’s Pedaling Pack 100 mile bike ride in summer, the organization has raised significant funds for pediatric brain cancer research and treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. In January, Pat Mac’s Pack presented a check for $200,000 to the hospital in honor of Patrick.
This year, the group is adding a new fundraiser by organizing Team Pat Mac’s Pack to run in BAPA’s Ridge Run on Memorial Day.
“This is a good connection between two really strong neighborhood organizations, both doing good things for our community and Chicago,” said Tom McNamara, father of Patrick and founder of Pat Mac’s Pack with his wife, Dee. “Helping BAPA is good for the neighborhood, and if BAPA can help us, that’s good for Pat Mac’s Pack.”
The Ridge Run team is also a good fit for Pat Mac’s Pack. As McNamara observed, the Pat Mac’s pedalers are “fitness minded” and for organization supporters who are not, a lot of people who do the Ridge Run are not runners, “they do it because it’s a fun day.”
Memorial Day is also a day of remembrance, and for Pat Mac’s Pack and many of the other Ridge Run teams, remembrance is at the heart of their charity.
Patrick was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor when he was 26 months old. Patrick’s struggle entailed 12 surgeries and many treatments, clinical trials and even experimental therapies, but new, more devastating tumors developed. Tom and Dee learned that pediatric cancer research and drug development were critically underfunded, and often children are treated using protocols for adults. They committed to help find and fund better treatments for children.
During Patrick’s illness, his “pack” rallied around him and his family for fundraising and awareness events. A lover of life and family, Patrick attended many of the events in his short life. According to his story on the Pat Mac’s Pack website, “He loved participating in these events and . . . always had a soft spot for sick children but never saw himself as one.”
Family and friends, St. Barnabas schoolmates and people touched by Patrick McNamara from throughout our community and beyond are invited to participate in the Ridge Run as members of Team Pat Mac’s Pack. If you can’t join the team, you can support Pat Mac’s Pack at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Party, Fri., Mar. 6, 7 p.m., St. Barnabas, 10121 S. Longwood Dr. Tickets start at $20. Get details at patmacspack.org.
Team Sign Up
BAPA is a proud supporter of Pat Mac’s Pack. To sign up for Team Pat Mac’s Pack or another team, go to www.bapa.org and click on the sign up button under the Ridge Run photo. That takes you to Race Roster; select the View & Pledge Teams option under Event Details on the left.
BAPA’s registration service does not have a functionality for individual team fundraising, so Ridge Run teams will participate in a pre-race fundraiser through which teams will earn contributions to benefit their charities, raise awareness through networking with other organizations and at the race, and enjoy a party. Stay tuned to The Villager for details.
The Ridge Run offers five participant options: 10K run, 5K run, 10K + 5K Ridge Run Challenge, 5K untimed walk and 1 mile untimed youth run. Groups interested in learning more about forming teams or who have questions can contact Mary Jo Viero, 773-233-3100 or email@example.com.