Shamrockin’ 2020


Another year – another step closer to a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.  My friends Matt & Kellene O’Connell continue their mission as son Brady battles the lung condition with frequent trips to the doctor and a great deal of fortitude.  There is a promising new drug showing real results for CF patients – a major breakthrough for the CF community.

Last weekend, the O’Connell’s held the annual Shamrockin’ for a Cure event at the Local 150 labor union hall on Joliet Road in Countryside.  They raised over $260,000 to continue the battle against CF.  A decade ago, the party was held in Forest Park bar’s upstairs room.  Now it’s at a giant event space with hundreds of attendees.

White Castle, Tito’s Vodka & Falco’s Pizza pitched in to donate refreshments.

The musical lineup kept things lively in between presentations, with the Bridgeport Ramblers kicking things off at 7pm.  Talented kids from the Trinity Irish Dancers showed off their skills and the Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society/Chicago Police Department kept the Irish mood going.  The O’Connells took the stage for an update on Trikafta, the drug with a 90% success rate.  It’s working for Brady.  But the 10% of patients who are ineligible for the drug include the O’Connell’s nephew Emmett and a pair of west suburban brothers who were the focus of a short film shown on the overhead screen.  The filmmakers did a great job and the kids were engaging and funny on screen.  It touched everybody in the room.  Pro auctioneer Rick Shemoski took the stage to allow people to donate during a live auction and a silent auction was set up with cool stuff to bid on – Bears game packages, lake house getaways, etc.

The Pigs – an excellent local band –  headlined the show and the party was in full swing.  The sound guy, Mickey, made sure you could hear the sweet sounds of rock ‘n’ roll all the way in the back of the room.

Matt & Kel booked me as the DJ to spin some tunes and get the dance floor poppin’ as the party reached late-night status.  I wore my cousin Mike’s lucky gold jacket over a green shirt and it brought me good fortune as the remaining partiers gyrated to my selected jams.

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Promise I’ll return your jacket one of these days, bro.

Early on, I went a little heavy on the “girly” songs to get the ladies out on the dance floor. My buddy Graham approached the booth and wisely requested I bring it home with a little old school hip-hop.  Ice Cube & Dr. Dre did the trick.  Mixed in some party classics, too:

The house finally shut us down, even as Kel tried to bribe security to let us have another hour of party time.  I started breaking down my gear and picking the brain of Mickey, the sound guy.  He was an expert and a real pleasant and thoughtful gentleman – originally from Sweden.  Matt and my buddy Hlavs checked in on me before they left and I said I’d meet ’em out for a drink at the Spot – a bar down Joliet Road.  I noticed Hlavs help himself to a couple of leftover sandwiches on the stage.  He only took the meat – must be cutting carbs.  Made himself a nice pile of roast beef and skedaddled.  Turns out, the sandwiches had been set aside by Mickey.  He planned to bring them home.  He was in good humor about the meat robbery – wondering who would take the meat but leave the buns?  I couldn’t stop laughing.  Good man, Mickey.  Hope to work with him again.  Maybe at next year’s Shamrockin’ – should I get the call.

Packed up my gear and met the crew over at the spot.  Eventually Hlavs and I decided a 2am stop at Tony’s Breakfast Cafe in Brookfield was the move. Guess that stolen meat hadn’t filled him up.  He ordered an inhuman amount of eggs and I got the gyro skillet. Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 2.54.44 PM.png


Gyro meat incorporated into a classic breakfast dish?  Sign me up.  I slept well that night, with visions of Shamrocks dancing in my head.


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