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updated: 9/20/2013 9:40 AM

Glen Ellyn man organizes music festival to rally people to fight cancer

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  • Katie Vogg was 46 when she died of a rare form of cancer called cholangiocarcinoma two years ago. Involved in local charities and school activities, she was a behind-the-scenes person who touched many lives.

      Katie Vogg was 46 when she died of a rare form of cancer called cholangiocarcinoma two years ago. Involved in local charities and school activities, she was a behind-the-scenes person who touched many lives.
    Courtesy of Scott Vogg

  • Scott Vogg will perform a guitar and vocal solo at Cancerpalooza, a music festival he has organized to raise awareness and research funding for the type of cancer that took his wife's life.

      Scott Vogg will perform a guitar and vocal solo at Cancerpalooza, a music festival he has organized to raise awareness and research funding for the type of cancer that took his wife's life.
    Courtesy of Scott Vogg

  • Alison Vogg, daughter of Katie and Scott Vogg, designed the LLK (LiveLikeKatie) bracelet to raise money for research into the type of cancer that killed her mother.

      Alison Vogg, daughter of Katie and Scott Vogg, designed the LLK (LiveLikeKatie) bracelet to raise money for research into the type of cancer that killed her mother.
    Courtesy of Scott Vogg

  • Scott Vogg formed the LiveLikeKatie Foundation last year to encourage people to take his wife's "give, live, laugh, love" approach to life.

      Scott Vogg formed the LiveLikeKatie Foundation last year to encourage people to take his wife's "give, live, laugh, love" approach to life.
    Courtesy of Scott Vogg

  • Drew, 17, and Alison Vogg, 13, lost their mom two years ago, but not her zest for life.

      Drew, 17, and Alison Vogg, 13, lost their mom two years ago, but not her zest for life.
    Courtesy of Scott Vogg

 
 

Katie Vogg of Glen Ellyn wasn't one to call attention to herself, but she loved music, laughter and helping people. So she might be pleased with the Cancerpalooza music fundraising extravaganza taking place this weekend in her honor.

Sponsored by the LiveLikeKatie Foundation started by her husband, Scott, last year, the event will include several bands and musical performances, refreshments from Tap House restaurant, and an opportunity to raise money for research into the rare cancer that killed Katie at age 46 in 2011.

Cancerpalooza runs 2 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in Maryknoll Park, 845 Pershing Road, Glen Ellyn.

Scott Vogg said the purpose of Cancerpalooza is to focus on hope, happiness and moving forward rather than the tragedy of his wife's passing.

"She really lived by a 'give, live, laugh, love' model of life," said Vogg of his wife of 17 years and mother of their two children. "Me, the kids and friends just wanted to do something that honored that way of life."

Music seemed like a natural fit, he said. He and several friends made up the Katie's Basement band that rehearsed in the Voggs' basement years ago.

Katie was a fan and the namesake of the band.

Katie's Basement is coming back together for the event; Scott will play an opening number with the band and later perform his own vocal and guitar solo. The lineup also includes the Driveway, Mike and Matt of The Truss, and the Michael Heaton Band as the headline act.

"Music is just one of those things that makes people feel good and kind of inspired," Vogg said. "What we're trying to do is inspire people to find some answers to cancer."

Vogg said he did not set a specific fundraising goal but would encourage people to give what they can.

"I hope that people will realize cancer cuts across everybody and we need to stop it," he said.

Katie Vogg had lived a healthy life until she began experiencing severe discomfort in her upper abdominal area. She had her gall bladder removed, but tests showed a more serious problem. Katie was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer of the bile ducts, in October 2011 and died two months later.

"It was a shock. But it's one of those kinds of cancers (that) there's no way to detect it early enough to treat it effectively," Vogg said.

All profits from Cancerpalooza will go toward research into upper abdominal cancers being done at the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center under the direction of Dr. Daniel Catenacci.

"There's literally zero public funding for these very rare cancers," Vogg said.

The Voggs' two children -- Drew, 17, and Alison, 13, -- were 15 and 11 at the time of their mother's death. Drew is now a senior and starting quarterback on the varsity football team at Glenbard West High School. Alison, an eighth-grader at Hadley Junior High, has created a LiveLikeKatie bracelet that sells for $20 as a fundraiser.

"I've got to tell you, they are amazing kids" Vogg said. "They, of all the people I know, truly embrace the LLK approach to life."

Katie, a former manager in the health care field, had been a stay-at-home for the last 12 years of her life, Vogg said. She belonged to the Hephzibah Children's Association, taught religious education at St. Petronille Church in Glen Ellyn, served on the PTA, and volunteered for every mom position there was on their children's sports teams, Vogg said.

"She was just a really nice person and she did a lot of things for a lot of people," he said. "She didn't need thank yous. Her thank you was doing good."

Vogg said he has worked six months to put Cancerpalooza together with the help of a group of his and Katie's friends. He expects between 500 and 1,000 people at the event.

"I could not have pulled this off without the support of people who were really close to Katie," he said.

His best friend, Joe Novak of Geneva, designed the website and did printing for Cancerpalooza. In an unusual and sad twist of fate, his father, Joe Novak, was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma several weeks before Katie and died about six months after her.

Novak said sharing his losses with Vogg has made the two college friends and former roommates closer.

"Cancerpalooza is an effort to raise money to fund that type of research," Novak said. "There's an awful lot of people who have come together."

Tickets to Cancerpalooza are $50. For information, visit livelikekatie.org and glenellyncancerpalooza.com.

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