Eat a good meal, help a cancer patient

When it comes to cancer, Katie Meskimen of Morris is determined to make a difference.

Meskimen first contacted me through social media nearly a year ago. She wanted to know how to promote some fundraisers for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event.

She called the Herald-News shortly before the pandemic began with the same question. And then on Wednesday, she messaged me again with a list of upcoming fundraisers.

Why is she so committed to Relay for Life?

“Because I remember my family [members] who had cancer and died,” Meskimen said. “Because I remember my friends who had cancer and died. Because I remember my family [members] and friend still living with cancer and suffering through it.”

Meskimen said she first became involved with Relay for Life 11 years ago when she was living in Pekin. A friend who was involved encouraged Meskimen to join a team.

Elina Triantou, owner of Hamburgerseria in Joliet, has let Meskimen host similar Relay for Life fundraisers at her restaurant in the past and plans to post the upcoming ones on the Hamburgerseria Facebook page.

“She’s such a nice lady,” Triantou said. “She just needs a little help. Nowadays, we all need to help each other.”

Although many Relay for Life fundraisers will be virtual this year, funds raised still will help support services such as "free rides to chemo, free places to stay near hospitals and a live 24/7 helpline for answers and support," according to the American Cancer Society website.

Meskimen hopes the community will support the fundraisers.

“It’s just to help a good organization,” Meskimen said.