If spectators at Naperville's St. Patrick's Day Parade are donning something other than green garb this year, they might just be wearing superhero T-shirts.
Bike Bald, a Naperville-based bicycling group that raises money for childhood cancer and community causes, is selling the shirts as a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a children's cancer research charity, in honor of Pat Pradel.
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Pat, the wife of Naperville Mayor George Pradel, was diagnosed last month with stage four bone cancer. The couple's daughter, Carol Pradel, describes Pat as a "very strong person" who is striving to recover from her first rounds of treatment before undergoing more chemotherapy.
"Her goal is to be able to stand on her own and move around the house," Carol Pradel said. "To make her a superhero was the best news we could get."
Debbie Mossburg, founder of Bike Bald, is a two-time cancer survivor who thought her group should support the Pradel family by getting crowds at the St. Patrick's Day Parade to wear "Pat Pradel Superhero" T-shirts.
"I said to my group, look, let's do something," Mossburg said. "Let's pay our homage back to the Pradels and our prayers and thoughts can be with them at this time."
Mayor Pradel has attended many a Bike Bald fundraiser and pitched in any way he could, Mossburg said. So it is only fitting to contribute to a cause close to his wife's heart by selling $10 T-shirts and donating all proceeds to the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
Naperville's police and fire departments are hosting a St. Baldrick's fundraiser from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Marriott hotel, 1801 N. Naper Blvd., and Bike Bald has its own St. Baldrick's event in September.
"He has always been such a great supporter to me and Bike Bald and the community," Mossburg said about Naperville's longtime mayor and former "Officer Friendly." "At the drop of a hat, he's always been wonderful."
The shirts are available at bikebald.com. Orders can be placed until March 2 for pickup March 13 through 15 at Naperville Running Company, in conjunction with packet pickup for the St. Paddy's Day 5K sponsored by Rotary Club of Naperville Sunshine.
On a yellow superhero's crest outlined in red, the large letters "PP" stand for Pat Pradel, and a ribbon woven into the second "P" is a symbol for cancer support. Smaller numbers in the design also are symbolic, Mossburg said, with "13" representing Mayor Pradel's "Officer Friendly" badge number and "3" symbolizing the couple's three children.
Carol Pradel already has worn her "Pat Pradel Superhero" shirt and said her mother was thrilled to see the support, especially because it will benefit research to help the youngest cancer sufferers.
"It's phenomenal," Carol Pradel said. "To honor my mom, who has always kept our family together, it just meant the world that they were acknowledging her."