Since 2009, local residents have enjoyed the Saturday after Thanksgiving by running or walking in a North Beverly race that burns off a few calories and helps support the fight against pediatric brain cancer.
The 11th annual Beverly Hills Turkey Trot 5K Run and Family Walk, which was founded by 19th Ward officials and benefits the John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and the 19th Ward Youth Foundation, will be held Nov. 30, at 9 a.m., at Christ the King Elementary School, 9240 S. Hamilton Ave.
According to 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, another strong turnout is expected to close out Thanksgiving week.
“I’m proud to be a part of what has become a wonderful tradition in our community,” O’Shea said. “For 10 years, we’ve been doing something to bring people together from all walks of life. Probably what I’m most proud of is our affiliation with the [McNicholas Foundation], working together to try to find a cure.”
McNicholas was a Christ the King School graduate who died in 2011 at age 15 after battling brain cancer. The foundation named in his memory has raised millions of dollars to support research, with many fundraising events organized by the Live Like John Service and Leadership Institute, which consists of high school students.
The 19th Ward Foundation, which O’Shea created when he was an aide to his aldermanic predecessor, Ginger Rugai, hosts a variety of activities during the year for children at little or no cost, including a holiday dodgeball tournament, movies in the park and a pumpkin-patch event.
The Turkey Trot races through North Beverly, bounded by Pleasant Avenue, Leavitt Street, and 88th and 94th streets. The event has also supported the Beverly-based Maeve McNicholas Memorial Foundation, which also supports the effort to cure pediatric brain tumors.
Registration is $35 per person or $75 per family for the family walk; children under 19 years old can register for $30.
Prices will increase the day of the race.
Those who register by Nov. 1 will receive a hooded sweatshirt instead of a long-sleeved shirt, with participants registering after that date receiving sweatshirts on a first-come, first-served basis.
About 2,000 people participate each year.
“I love the Thanksgiving holiday and all that goes into that week in the neighborhood,” said O’Shea, who grew up in the parish of Christ the King Roman Catholic Church. “Getting everyone together on that day, we’re so proud to have such a good community.”
For the sixth year, O’Shea’s office is teaming up with The Original Pancake House-Beverly to host a pancake breakfast in the Christ the King gym after the race.
The cost is $5 per person or $25 per family.
The local restaurant, owned by the Harrigan Family for over 50 years, works with O’Shea on other community fundraisers, including a Get Behind the Vest pancake breakfast that helps purchase new protective vests for Chicago police officers.
O’Shea has known Julie Harrigan Wagner since elementary school.
Supporting the Turkey Trot, he said, is personal for his friend.
“What more can be said about the generosity of the Harrigan Family?” O’Shea said. “Julie Harrigan is a close friend of Amy McNicholas [John’s mother]. … Their philanthropy is unmatched.”
Packet pick-ups for the Beverly Hills Turkey Trot will be Nov. 22, from 1-6 p.m., at the CIBC Banking Center, 3052 W. 111th St.; Nov. 23, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at the CIBC Banking Center; Nov. 25, from 1-5 p.m., at the CIBC Banking Center; Nov. 26, from 4-8 p.m., at Treadfit-Beverly, 10458 S. Western Ave.; and Nov. 29, from 1-7 p.m., at Running Excels, 10328 S. Western Ave.
To register, visit the website at the19thward.com.