Former student afflicted with cancer

By Nina Gougis

When Joseph Reilly first found out he had cancer, he was not the least surprised.

What surprised Reilly, 27, most was that the Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes and a highly curable disease, returned after spending three months in complete remission.

He was so sure he could go on with his normal life and even took 17 credits to make up those he lost during the past three months.

Reilly’s plans came to a halt when doctors found the cancer could have returned or evolved into another form of cancer.

“It was hell for nothing,” Reilly said. “When I look back on all that it makes me think ‘Do I have to go through all that again and then some?’”

Having to go through additional testing and surgery, Reilly, a former employee at Molly’s, had to quit his job and withdraw from his classes.

His troubles grew when he found he would have to pay for additional testing, surgery and a possible bone marrow transplant.

“I know 80 percent (insurance coverage) sounds like a lot, but when you take something that costs $155,000, you’re still stuck with $40,000.”

Reilly, despite having received veterans’ health benefits and help from his family and girlfriend, was faced with a growing debt.

To help pay the medical costs, Molly’s, 1022 W. Lincoln Hwy.,and Bar One, 1000 W. Lincoln Hwy., will host several fundraising events Saturday.

The first event, a silent auction, will begin at Molly’s at 11 a.m. and at Bar One at 4 p.m. Tickets for the auction are on sale for $5.

Available prizes include a bar set, barbeque grill, camping set, coolers and various other memorabilia from Bacardi, Jack Daniels, Absolut and Jagermeister.

The second event will be a 50-50 raffle where half of the money raised from ticket sales will be used as a cash prize and the other half used for Reilly’s fund.

In addition, half of the profit made on that night at the two bars will go to Reilly. The other half will be donated to the American Cancer Society, said Derek Nayden, manager at Molly’s.

Nayden, who helped coordinate the event, said he was mostly amazed that Reilly never complained about his situation.

“People say that kind of thing all the time when something like this happens,” Nayden said. “But I’ve never meet anyone who doesn’t like him.”

Those looking to for other ways to contribute can call Nayden at 758-2120 or donate to the Joseph Reilly Fund at Amcore Bank, 122 N. 4th St. in Oregon, Il.