Elk Grove Village family still feels impact of 2011 article

  • A Daily Herald article about Joan Evans, far left, and her Elk Grove Village family drew an outpouring of support from readers in fall 2011. The mother of four disabled children was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in the same week her husband lost his job. A few weeks later, after reading the article, Gail and Chris Margarites of Hawthorn Woods, pictured, donated a wheelchair-accessible van to the family.

      A Daily Herald article about Joan Evans, far left, and her Elk Grove Village family drew an outpouring of support from readers in fall 2011. The mother of four disabled children was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in the same week her husband lost his job. A few weeks later, after reading the article, Gail and Chris Margarites of Hawthorn Woods, pictured, donated a wheelchair-accessible van to the family. JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • A Daily Herald article from September 2011 about a fundraiser for Mark and Joan Evans of Elk Grove Village, their sons Bradley, Grant and Brett, and their daughter, Meredith, drew an outpouring of support that Joan recently said "changed my attitude of having cancer from dying to surviving."

      A Daily Herald article from September 2011 about a fundraiser for Mark and Joan Evans of Elk Grove Village, their sons Bradley, Grant and Brett, and their daughter, Meredith, drew an outpouring of support that Joan recently said "changed my attitude of having cancer from dying to surviving." JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted10/4/2015 6:12 AM

It was August 2011 when Patti Stockwell reached out to the Daily Herald.

Her sister-in-law, Joan Evans, needed help.

 

In just one week, the Evans family, of Elk Grove Village, was dealt two huge blows. First, Joan's husband, Mark, lost his job. Days later, Joan -- the primary caregiver of their then 18-year-old triplets with cerebral palsy, including one in a wheelchair, and their then 12-year-old son with autism -- was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.

Stockwell called us to let us know about a fundraiser she was organizing to help the family with some of their medical costs. We wrote about it, and in reflecting four years later, Joan says the outpouring of support that followed "changed my attitude of having cancer from dying to surviving."

"The love, generous support, and kind words of encouragement we received from our family, friends and everyone who read our story in the Daily Herald helped us in so many ways," she said. "Along with God's abiding love, the fundraiser gave us hope that we would be able to come through this trial in our lives."

While the article successfully spread the word about the fundraiser -- which drew in more than 500 people and raised an estimated $50,000 -- it also caught the interest of a Hawthorn Woods couple who couldn't attend the event.

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"I saw the article and wrote, huge, across the top, 'We have to help this family,' and I called my husband over and I said, 'What can we do? This family is just amazing,'" Gail Margarites said in October 2011. She and her husband, Chris, decided to donate a Ford E150 handicap-accessible van to the family.

Joan said the van, complete with a wheelchair lift, is "still going strong" and used by her family every day.

"All of this happened because of Patti's inspiration, Jessica (Cilella)'s touching story, Joe (Lewnard)'s beautiful photos, the Daily Herald graciously printing our story," she said, adding that she still appreciates the help her family received not only from loved ones, but also "readers who wanted to help a family like ours."

"We are forever grateful to all of you and to God for all His provisions," she said. "He continues to bless us everyday."

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