Bear Hugs All Around



By Judy Carmack Bross



Barely had the inspirational and robust volunteers finished wrapping up their moving Halloween Walk for the Bear, when the Young Professional Board of the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation ramped up for the Purple Affair for the Bear on January 19 at the Theater on the Lake. 


Purple Affair for the Bear 2018.

Co-chaired by Andrew Touhy and Sarah Jarnac, the evening will feature a night full of live music by Sorry for Partying, dancing, dining and auction items for great bidding to benefit the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation through research grants and memorable experiences gifted through the Bear Hugs initiative.


Bear Necessities Founder and CEO Kathleen A. Casey and A Walk for the Bear individual top fundraiser and participant Rosie Colucci.

Kathleen A. Casey founded the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation in 1992 after losing her son “Bear” to pediatric cancer. Twenty-five years later, the organization is dedicated to eliminating pediatric cancer and to providing hope and support to those who are touched by it.


A Walk for the Bear participants crossing the finish line.

Best Dressed costume winners at A Walk for the Bear.

Caleb Teasley, Liz Teasley and Christina Teasley.

“A Walk for the Bear is a very meaningful and touching event for me personally. Bear’s birthday was on Halloween and he absolutely loved dressing up for the holiday and the many parties scheduled around Halloween especially his own birthday party. To see so many children and their families joined together to help make a difference in the lives of cancer is truly heartwarming. Seeing so many attendees in costume reminded me of Bear and his vision to help other kids like him and the walk was a testament to his memory and his dream. We are truly grateful for the amazing outpouring of support and certainly hope all will join us again next year.”

  The Bear Necessities Bear Hugs Program, supporting cancer patients from birth to 19 and their immediate families that face the many challenges that accompany the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancer, is a Bear Necessities outreach serving both in-state and out-of-state children who are being treated at one of 16 Illinois-area hospitals with pediatric oncology departments. A Bear Hug is a customized experience that brightens the life of a child going through cancer.  The Bear Hugs Program also provides immediate family support for financial burden and essential needs.

Each year, Bear Necessities awards Bear Discoveries, medical research grants nationwide to junior investigative researchers who make meaningful advancements and discoveries towards finding a cure and therapies for various types of pediatric cancer.

The Halloween Walk For the Bear, filled with family fun, was hosted by 103.5 KISS-FM’s Rufio. The warm-up was led by professional boxer and WBC Continental Americas 2017 Champion, Mike Jimenez, and featured sweet treats for the enthusiastic participants.

Sponsors of A Walk for the Bear included 103.5 KISS FM, American Financial Management, Culloton Strategies, LLC, Mariano’s, ORBA, Wintrust Financial, Blum Animal Hospital and Tom’s Farm Market.


For more information about their events and mission, visit