Cancer not sidetracking Skarr from community, family activities

  • Brad McGuire and Debra Lellbach, from left, members of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Mike Skarr, then chamber CEO, stand by a view of downtown Naperville several years ago.

    Brad McGuire and Debra Lellbach, from left, members of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Mike Skarr, then chamber CEO, stand by a view of downtown Naperville several years ago. DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTO 2007

  • Mike Skarr

    Mike Skarr

  • Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Mike Skarr, left, worked with chamber members Debra Lellbach and Brad McGuire.

    Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Mike Skarr, left, worked with chamber members Debra Lellbach and Brad McGuire. DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTO 2007

  • Christopher Specca

    Christopher Specca

  • Tonya Corder, a past president of Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, accepts the Realtor of the Year from last year's winner, Ahmed Badat.

    Tonya Corder, a past president of Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, accepts the Realtor of the Year from last year's winner, Ahmed Badat. COURTESY OF MAINSTREET ORGANIZATION OF REALTORS

  • Carolin Archibald

    Carolin Archibald

  • Thomas E. Richards

    Thomas E. Richards

  • The Fox Valley Aerial Imagery used one of its drones to capture a special ribbon cutting of its business. Those cutting the ribbon are, from left, Holly Deitchman, president of the Batavia Chamber; Michael Lamplough, Fox Valley Aerial Imagery owner; and Batavia Mayor Jeffery Schielke.

    The Fox Valley Aerial Imagery used one of its drones to capture a special ribbon cutting of its business. Those cutting the ribbon are, from left, Holly Deitchman, president of the Batavia Chamber; Michael Lamplough, Fox Valley Aerial Imagery owner; and Batavia Mayor Jeffery Schielke. Courtesy of Lindsey Williams/Batavia Chamber of Commerce

 
 
Updated 5/23/2016 7:23 AM

When his father died of heart disease at a young age, Mike Skarr carefully tracked his own cholesterol to try to avoid the same fate.

But as fate would have it, something else made him step up his vigilance -- prostate cancer.

 

"This was something I wasn't expecting," said Skarr, 73. "So this was a big surprise, a real wake up call."

Before this, little else seemed to surprise the very organized Skarr. In recent years, he has headed the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and Choose DuPage, the local economic development firm. He then retired and started a consulting business called Not-for-Profit Strategies and Solutions LLC in Naperville. But retirement got busier last summer when he was invited back as interim president and CEO at Choose DuPage until John Carpenter was named to the post last September.

Skarr also continues to serve on the board of directors for the Wheaton Bank and Trust and other organizations. So it's not uncommon to find Skarr popping up at community events and shaking hands with people.

"He's a market leader and we're just happy he's on our team," said Bob Paszczak, chairman of the Wheaton Bank and Trust.

But a year ago, Skarr saw that his blood tests indicated some unusual patterns and doctors performed a biopsy on his prostate. The result was positive for cancer and the doctor wanted to monitor it for a while. Skarr moved ahead with a genetic test, which revealed the cancer was "66 percent aggressive," Skarr said.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That's when he explored his treatment options and turned to a facility in Warrenville, called the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center, which offers proton therapy to help treat cancer.

That was an interesting twist of fate, since Northwestern Medicine opened in 2010, when Skarr was the Choose DuPage president and CEO and he helped to get the facility to move to Warrenville.

"At the time, we were thrilled when they decided to come to DuPage," Skarr said of Northwestern Medicine. "But now, the key thing is, they're right in my backyard."

Earlier this year, Skarr began to take the proton therapy in the hopes of ridding his body of cancer. He made daily visits to the Northwestern Medicine for 44 days and finished in March. He said side effects were not as harsh as chemo or radiation and he considers himself lucky overall so far. It's given him an even deeper appreciation of his community and his family, he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He and his wife of 50 years, Mary Ann, have three sons and eight grandchildren. Skarr wants to spend more time with them, enjoy life, do some consulting work and be vigilant with follow-up tests every three months to check his prostate.

"I've got a pretty full schedule already," he said.

FastTracks

Christopher Speca is the new regional vice president of Simon Premium Outlets, central region, and will oversee 17 center's including Aurora, Michigan and Wisconsin centers. ... Tonya Corder, a past president of Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, has been named the association's 2016 Realtor of the Year. She also founded a diversity task force for the organization during her term as president.

Carolin Archibald of Libertyville and former president of McHenry-based Medela Inc. is the new vice president for U.S. and Canadian business for Libertyville-based Hollister Inc., a global health care company. ... Naperville attorney David Guy Stevens has been collecting school and art supplies for Beebe Elementary School in Naperville in honor of the Lily Sarah Grace Fund. In 2011, 9-year-old Lily and her twin 7-year-old sisters Sarah and Grace, lost their lives in a fire in Stamford, Connecticut. To honor their lives, the sisters' father started Lily Sarah Grace Fund to support what his daughters loved to do most in life: art.

Terri Blanket has graduated 10 little ones from day care preschool to kindergarten. The ceremony was at Barrington Community Child Care Center in Barrington. Blanket opened this day care center in October 1992. It has about 60 children, ages 6 weeks to 6 years.

Mayor Jeffery Schielke and Michael Lamplough, owner of Fox Valley Aerial Imagery were on hand with Batavia Chamber of Commerce members for a ribbon-cutting ceremony where the firm's drone filmed the event. Fox Valley Aerial Imagery provides aerial photography and video, offering an unique perspective for industries seeking alternative ways to view and showcase their properties or projects. ... Thomas E. Richards, chairman and CEO of CDW Corp. in Lincolnshire, will speak on Tuesday at the 44th Annual J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

0 Comments
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.