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Cicero mom fighting cancer with faith

Wilkinson's mother, Sharon Morin, was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in June of 2007. She has since been in remission after radiation treatment and surgery, though she continues to suffer the ill effects of burns suffered during radiation treatment.

Mary Akley, Wilkinson's grandmother and Morin's mother, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in November 1982. After a year and a half of chemotherapy, Akley was declared cancer-free, though she continues to take medication, as do her daughter and granddaughter, to try to keep the disease at bay.

"My doctor called me his miracle patient," Akley said. "It was in my bones, but I still survived."

That gives Wilkinson hope for her own prognosis.

"She's my hero," Wilkinson said of her grandmother.

Wilkinson is also bolstered by help from her friends, who have helped her by chauffeuring her two younger boys around, providing meals and planning a benefit.

"They've just been amazing," she said. "It's actually kind of overwhelming."

The benefit, organized by Wilkinson's friend Darci LaRose, will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday Aug. 2 at the Cicero American Legion, 5575 Legionnaire Drive, preceded by a motorcycle ride at 11 a.m. Tickets will be available at the benefit for $10 per person or $25 per family; children under 5 are free. There will be food, a silent auction, Chinese auction, prizes and a 50/50 raffle.

"People have put in a lot of work," Morin said. "I mean, how do you thank these people?

While her friends have provided much support, Wilkinson's anchor is her faith.

"I've had my doubts sometimes," she admitted. "My husband committed suicide when I was pregnant with my third child, and this [cancer diagnosis] has been a challenge. But God is a good God. Cancer did not come from God. I've learned to grow in my faith."

Wilkinson said she's so grateful for everything she does have, from her boys -- Trevin, 21, Mikey, 9, and Noah, 7 -- to her mother and grandmother to her friends and the support she gets from her boys' school, Smith Road Elementary, to, most of all, God's love.

"I know God is a loving God, and that this too shall pass," she said. "That's what gets me through, knowing that there's always hope."

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