Jim McKeever

Jim McKeever (Review file photo)

The Crystal Heart Ball, the premier fundraising event for Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) in Evergreen Park, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. This year’s ball will benefit interventional radiology services at LCMH. The theme for the black-tie gala is “Starry Night.”

The real star of the night will be Jim McKeever, of Evergreen Park. In celebrating his charitable work for the Kevin Dowling Scholarship Fund and Christmas Without Cancer, McKeever will receive the LCMH Venerable Mary Potter Humanitarian Award.

The scholarship fund is named after McKeever’s brother-in-law, who died in 1995. A co-captain of the Mt. Carmel High School football team that year, Dowling, who attended St. John Fisher Elementary School, (SJF) suffered a heat stroke and died several days later.

The scholarship is presented to an eighth-grader from SJF entering a Catholic high school, a senior from Mt. Carmel entering college and a senior from an Archdiocese of Chicago high school entering college.

In December, McKeever helped host the 19th annual Kevin Dowling Toy Drive, providing gifts for children in various Chicago hospitals. He also helped run a golf outing supporting the scholarship that was held for over a decade.

McKeever also volunteers for Christmas Without Cancer, an Evergreen Park-based non-profit that supports families battling cancer.

Cancer hits close to home for McKeever—he was diagnosed in 2016, then again last year. Three years ago, he shaved his head as part of a fundraiser, and in a commentary piece for The Beverly Review, he said he was “one of the lucky ones,” because his prognosis was positive.

Last summer, McKeever caught the ceremonial first pitch before the championship game of the Papa Hops 16-inch softball tournament at Kennedy Park, which also raises funds to fight cancer.

McKeever, who has also served on the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee, might have considered himself a lucky a few years ago, but in addition be lucky, he is also most deserving of the honor at the Crystal Heart Ball.

The gala will feature a grand raffle with a first prize of a 10-day river cruise in Europe and other prizes including $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000.

For more information on the Crystal Heart Ball, call the LCMH Foundation Department at (708) 229-5447 or visit lcmh.org/foundation.