Maggie Daley attends program gala

September 16, 2009 (CHICAGO) This year the event is being held at Washington Park.

Maggie Daley, the founder of After School Matters, is there along with more than 2,000 guests. Daley is also the chairwoman of Wednesday night's big gala.

With so many Chicagoans dreaming big right now about the Olympic Games, Daley told ABC7 that Washington Park was the obvious choice for the party.

"Many Chicagoans have never been to Washington Park. And it's a beautiful park as you can see. It's a great location to kick off the Olympics," said Maggie Daley.

Daley wants all of Chicago's children to be able to go for the gold. That's why she founded Gallery 37 in 1991, serving some 220 school age kids back then. Nearly two decades later, Gallery 37 has evolved into a program now called After School Matters. Now the program provides 19,000 children with cultural programs in Chicago's poorest neighborhoods.

Washington Park is the proposed site of the 2016 Olympic stadium. And the official announcement on the host city will be made in just over two weeks in Copenhagen and Mrs. Daley will be there hoping for the best.

"I'm very optimistic. I'm very hopeful. And I think we've done a very good job and that's all you can do in life," said Daley.

That sounds very much like her philosophy on surviving breast cancer. Chicago's First Lady was first diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. This past April, doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital performed a biopsy on a bone lesion because tests showed subtle changes. The Daleys, who consider it a private family matter, never shared the results of that biopsy until Wednesday. Mrs. Daley tells ABC7 it did mean a change in her treatment.

"Everybody who has cancer knows what I mean. I changed a few medications. And then you just go from there," said Daley.

An upbeat Maggie Daley sounded hopeful on Wednesday night about her future and Chicago's future for securing the Olympic Games.

The gala is expected to raise about $3 million for After School Matters.

The program started 18 years ago on a shoestring budget.

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