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updated: 10/28/2013 9:25 AM

Aidan's Army fights childhood brain tumors

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  • Aidan Manning was just 3 when he died of a brain tumor. In his memory, his family began Aidan's Army, a foundation that raises money for research childhood brain tumors.

      Aidan Manning was just 3 when he died of a brain tumor. In his memory, his family began Aidan's Army, a foundation that raises money for research childhood brain tumors.
    Courtesy of the Manning family

 
 

Aidan Manning lived to be only 3 years old and during those three short years, he unknowingly amassed an army to fight the cancer that he ultimately could not.

Aidan's "cruelly abbreviated life" came to an end on July 30, 2010, at 3 years, 2 months and 13 days. Aidan's Army -- The Aidan Manning Memorial Foundation was created two months later by his parents, Ron Manning and Kathleen McMahon-Manning, and is dedicated to advancing research and treatment of childhood medulloblastoma, or brain tumors.

"Creating the foundation was such an easy decision. Aidan was 3. He didn't have any interests or passions. He didn't have a life to develop that, so that falls on my husband and I," said McMahon-Manning. "Running the foundation is the way we continue to parent him."

The foundation is hosting its third annual candlelight bowl fundraiser to benefit Lurie Children's Hospital, where Aidan was treated. The event is Saturday, Nov. 2, at Wheaton Bowl, 2031 N. Gary Ave.

"These funds, typically $10,000 to $15,000, go directly to the neuro-oncology research program so we're strictly funding brain tumor research," McMahon-Manning said. "The state of funding is so very poor that less than 4 percent of federal funding goes toward pediatric cancer research. Brain tumor research is a fraction of that and research dollars won't go very far. Just to put it in perspective, $10,000 would buy slides for a microscope."

Despite the "heavy subject matter," McMahon-Manning said the bowling event is a mostly uplifting and joyous occasion.

Entertainer Jim Perona will headline the benefit and bowling will begin at 9 p.m. There will be a cash bar, silent auction, raffle prizes, door prizes and a split-the-pot raffle.

Tickets are $35 per person and include a pizza buffet, three games of bowling and shoe rental. Tickets purchased in advance will have three raffle tickets attached. Any tickets that have not sold will be made available for purchase at the door for $45.

"We've funded some research and a particular study that looks for tumor markers. The money we have donated for this grant was presented in Fort Lauderdale this past May," McMahon-Manning said. "Research is moving forward and Aidan's Army is making it happen."

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