WESTERN SPRINGS – Christina Carinato always gave the best hugs. That’s one of the many things the Western Springs resident is remembered for, as well as her generous spirit and friendly, positive nature.
Christina, who died in February 2017 at age 50 after a short battle with a rare form of uterine cancer, will be honored at the second annual Celebrating Christina gala Oct. 20 at the Ace Hotel Chicago. The event is sponsored by the Christina Carinato Charitable Foundation, which raises money for research and treatment of rare reproductive cancers.
Guests will enjoy live music from Chicago-area performer Johnny Vincent, a buffet-style dinner and an open bar. Attendees also have the chance to win golf foursomes, tickets to Chicago sporting events, tickets to the Northwestern vs. Notre Dame football game, jewelry, gift certificates and more from raffles and a silent auction.
Christina and her husband, Matthew Carinato, have two children, John, 18, who is a freshman at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and Donna, 15, who is a sophomore at Fenwick High School. Matthew and his children created the foundation shortly after Christina’s death because they are determined to raise awareness and funding for research of leiomyosarcoma, the type of cancer Carinato had.
“There are few treatment options for [leiomyosarcoma], and I wish there was more that could be done,” Matthew said. “I told my children that something positive will come of this. I told them that their mom would live on through us. Part of healing is creating this foundation and doing something to raise awareness of these cancers.”
He expects about 200 people will attend this year’s event, up from just more than 100 people last year. He said he wants guests to know all of the money raised will go directly to Northwestern Medicine for research for uterine cancers.
“We hope to raise as much money as possible and help however we can,” Matthew said. “The event supports research that doesn’t get as much attention [as other forms of cancer]. Women shouldn’t be dying from this. Christina made a difference to a lot of people. Everyone talks about how she squeezed them when she hugged them and that she gave the tightest hugs ever.”
Alyce Frantz, a Western Springs resident and friend of the Carinato family, remembered Christina as a very dedicated mother who was always willing to help with any project but didn’t want to take credit or be in the spotlight. She said Christina is “genuinely missed,” and she’s looking forward to celebrating her life at the gala.
“Her life was short, but it’s important for us to do this every year and to make something good come out of something so sad,” Frantz said. “We’re remembering Christina and other women whose lives were lost due to cancers that potentially could be curable if there was money for research. [The gala] will be a lot of fun and will definitely be a party that Christina would have loved.”
How to help
To learn more about the Christina Carinato Charitable Foundation or purchase tickets to the gala, visit celebratingchristina.org.