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Teen’s legacy lives on with Cory’s Project

Kim Stegall Waukegan wraps gifts for Cory’s Project last year Best Western hotel  Zion. | Submitted photo

Kim Stegall of Waukegan wraps gifts for Cory’s Project last year at Best Western hotel in Zion. | Submitted photo

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Donate to
Cory’s Project

To donate a toy, book or pajamas, please pre-wrap gifts with a tag indicating whether it is for a boy or girl, and a short description of the item.

You may also mail monetary donations for meal tickets for families at the hospital. Most parents stay with their children during treatments and this would help greatly, said Michele Batz.

Mail or drop off gifts to:

Michele Batz

2700 4th St.

Winthrop Harbor, IL 60096

There is a toy box on the porch. At a later date there may be a drop box at a local community center.

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Updated: December 30, 2013 12:03PM

It was in Cory Batz’s nature to lift the spirits of others. And in loving memory of their 16-year-old son who died of cancer more than one year ago, Michele and Dale Batz of Winthrop Harbor have set in motion a donation drive to assist children and their families similarly affected.

“He was fond of people, and he was good with children and liked to help them,” said Michele, physical education instructor at Kenneth Murphy Elementary School in Beach Park. “I know he would have loved what we’re doing.”

Dale and Michele, along with friends and loved ones began “Cory’s Project” last year, and collected nearly 1,000 holiday gifts for young patients at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Milwaukee being treated in the HOT (hematology, oncology and transplant) unit. “It was where Cory fought his battle,” said his mother. Cory had undergone seven months of radiation and chemotherapy treatments for rare T-cell lymphoma.

The ambitious teen who hoped to one day become a teacher or work in the medical field, died on July 31, 2012. “He didn’t complain, even when he wasn’t feeling well,” said his mother who added her so was filled with courage, strength and faith. “He often gave advice to kids at the hospital going through the same thing.”

From that first Cory’s Project, the interest grew. “It was just awesome,” said Michele, noting that four large SUVs were jam-packed with wrapped gifts taken to Children’s Hospital right before Christmas. Among the items donated were new pajamas, toys, books, gas and gift cards.

As of Friday, Nov. 1, those same items (sans stuffed animals) are being sought so the Batz’s can duplicate their efforts.

Among last year’s donors were students and staff from Cory’s former grade schools in Winthrop Harbor — North Point and Westfield. At Westfield Elementary, Michele has talked to the kids about her son. Staff there, including fourth-grade teacher Belinda Shogren, coordinated a dance party with proceeds raised for Cory’s Project.

Others have been generous, including Kenneth Murphy staff and parents; and students who are in a running club headed by Michele.

Organizers plan to deliver the gifts to Children’s Memorial Hospital on Dec. 14.

Cory’s parents ask that you visit “Cory’s Project” Facebook page for updates and more information.

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