Community unites to help 20-month-old boy fight cancer

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Saturday, March 14, 2015
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Elliot McGann was diagnosed with Leukemia in November. The diagnosis blindsided his parents, Pat and Sara McGann.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago family is comforted as friends and family shave their heads bald in support of their 20-month-old son who has cancer. Elliot McGann was diagnosed with Leukemia in November. The diagnosis blindsided his parents, Pat and Sara McGann, of Chicago's Beverly neighborhood.

"We just weren't ready for that diagnosis, and we were beyond devastated," Sara McGann said.

On Thanksgiving Day, with their house filled with family, his parents said Elliot wasn't himself. They said he was irritable, had red dots on his forehead, and seemed to be bruising easily. They took him to the emergency room the day after Thanksgiving.

"We thought he was having an adverse reaction to the antibiotic he was on," Sara McGann said. "It turns out we received the unthinkable news. The doctor delivered the devastating news that he had leukemia."

Elliot was immediately hospitalized for 10 days. Since then, he has undergone chemotherapy and is expected to go through intensive treatments through August. His parents say he is on a 3.5-year treatment plan. Through it all, family, friends and the Beverly / Morgan Park neighborhood have supported them.

"They've been with us from the beginning. When you go through something like this, you need help. You do, you need some support," Pat McGann said.

And help they are getting. Loved ones have made home-cooked meals, sent cards, even put up Christmas lights for the family. "It's just so wonderful to see our community rallying and our family coming together," Sara McGann said.

And the community is coming together again today. A Saint Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser will be held at St. Cajetan's School on W. 112th Street. The money raised will support childhood cancer research. Organizers say donors can drop by the event between 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. to donate money. They can also go to the event's fundraising page. All of the money goes to childhood cancer research to help kids like Elliot.

"He has a battle on his hands that we are completely focused on," Pat McGann said. "Once we win that battle with Elliot, we're going to help a lot of families when they go through this."

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