Battling a serious illness often turns into a family affair. It was that way for Mark Linder, who started the Walk for the Mind to raise support, awareness, and funds for those battling brain tumors. Although he died in 2005, his family, including his father, Rex Linder ’69, continues to support the cause.
“It started out as just an idea and look at it now,” said Linder of the more than 600 walkers who turned out Sept. 28 for the 11th annual walk on the Peoria riverfront. “It’s a special day of the year; our son’s legacy is carrying on.”
Members of the Bradley family also have been supportive. Roger Monroe ’55, MA’57, whose wife has a brain tumor, has served as master of ceremonies the last few years. This year’s honorary chairman James Shadid ’79, chief judge of the federal district court at Peoria, lost his brother George Shadid ’80 to a brain tumor. Bradley students, mostly from the nursing department, have volunteered since 2004 in a variety of roles. Current members of Rex Linder’s fraternity, Sigma Chi, joined this year’s walk.
“We’ve joined to laugh, to cry, to share a story and share with each other,” Shadid noted.
Nursing faculty member Dr. Peggy Flannigan, herself a brain tumor survivor, has been chairman of the annual event since 2006 and been involved since the walk’s beginning.
“I’m carrying on what Mark started,” said Flannigan, who was joined by two other nursing department faculty volunteering at the walk. “I think once you’ve been ‘there,’ you need to do something for everybody else, to help them. We keep reaching more people.”
The walk has raised more than $330,000 for brain tumor research since its beginning. Those funds support research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.