GLEN ELLYN – Katie Vogg knew the right way to live.
“She loved to live life for others,” said her husband, Glen Ellyn resident Scott Vogg. “She didn’t need the spotlight.”
But the spotlight has found her nonetheless, thanks to the LiveLikeKatie Foundation, an organization started by Scott after Katie died from a rare form of cancer in December 2011.
Its goal is to inspire others to follow Katie’s way of “giving, living, laughing and loving.”
The foundation will host its first major fundraiser, “Cancerpalooza,” on Sept. 21 to support research at the University of Chicago that focuses on rare cancers, such as cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, which took Katie’s life.
Vogg started the LiveLikeKatie (LLK) Foundation in mid-2012 while his best friend’s father was fighting the same cancer.
Joe Novak’s dad was diagnosed in August 2011, a few months before Katie, and died a year later, Novak said.
“To lose two people in the same family is pretty tough, especially when it’s the same disease like that,” said Novak, who is an advocate for the LLK Foundation and built the Cancerpalooza website.
Doctors lack a screening method to recognize the cancer before it’s spread too far to be completely removed by surgery, according to the American Cancer Society.
With the LLK Foundation, Vogg wants to give people an avenue to support cancer research so that in the future, the cancer will be diagnosed sooner, and families won’t have to go through what he and his two children did.
“Cancer’s not going to die from one, large research knife cut,” he said. “It’s going to take a thousand cuts.”
And Vogg hopes Cancerpalooza will make one of those cuts.
The event will be at Maryknoll Park in Glen Ellyn and will feature musical performances, including Vogg himself.
Vogg knows Katie would have liked that he was bringing people together to have a good time in her name, he said.
Although the LLK Foundation’s fundraising focus is cancer research, Vogg has held smaller fundraisers for other causes because that’s part of living life for others, the way Katie did. Through the foundation, he aims to share his wife’s message with anyone willing to listen.
“I hope it brings a reminder that you have a choice regarding how you live life,” Vogg said. “I just happen to think the message of Katie’s passing was maybe we should live the way she did, which was to live selflessly.”