Benefit Planned Saturday for Children of Young Mom

"Patty's Pride" fundraiser will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Christ Community Church in Lemont.

From all accounts, Patty (Tilleman) Ditty of Lockport was living a beautiful life. Last winter, the 34-year-old mom of two and her husband, John, were busy planning for the birth of their third child.

But on March 7, something went terribly wrong. Patty lost consciousness while getting ready for work as a first-grade teacher at Wilson Creek Elementary School in Manhattan and was rushed to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Doctors performed an emergency Caesarian section – and Patty and John’s daughter, Emily was born and began thriving in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

But Patty was transferred to the Surgical Intensive Care unit at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. She passed away from a brain aneurysm the next day, never waking to meet her new daughter or see her husband or children Johnny, 6, or Maggie, 3, again.

In keeping with Patty’s wishes, her family donated her organs – helping seven others to live.

Family, friends, co-workers  pitched in to help – and hope you will, too

And in the spirit of sharing and giving that Patty continues to inspire, her friends and family are planning "Patty's Pride" to benefit the Ditty Children’s Education Fund. The event will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Christ Community Church at 13400 Bell Road in Lemont.

The event will include raffles, a DJ, food, a bags tournament and plenty of entertainment for kids. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $8 for kids in advance or $15 and $10, respectively, at the door.

Fundraising committee member Marcy Weigel is a nurse on the woman’s surgical and mother/baby floor at Christ Hospital, where she works with Patty’s sisters, nurses Katy and Amy Tilleman.

“Not only were all of us at work devastated by the events that took place because Katy and Amy are a part of our ‘family’ at work, but many of my coworkers saw the horror their family was going through because Patty was taken care of in our own Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Christ Hospital,” Weigel said.

“John Ditty had his world turned upside down within 24 hours,” Weigel added. “He had a newborn to take care of in the NICU at Silver Cross, and a wife, whose bedside they all prayed at, to come out of her coma at Christ Hospital.”

The family of healthcare workers at Christ Hospital immediately pitched in to help the Ditty Family.

“One co-worker made an online calendar and publicized it so that coworkers, friends and families could make meals to delivery to (the Ditty family) for the first two months after Patty’s loss to help them in their time of mourning,” Weigel said.

And their next step was to begin planning the Sept. 15 fundraiser to benefit Patty and John’s children.

Weigel said donations of food and funds to purchase prizes and bottled water for the fundraiser are welcome, and committee members could use a few extra volunteers the day of the event – for setup between 8 a.m. and noon, to help in the kitchen and sell raffle tickets from noon to 5 p.m. and for cleanup from 5 to 8 p.m.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Ditty Family Fundraiser, email Christ Community Church at dittyfundraiser@ccconbell.com or call the church at 630-257-7770.

Monetary donations may also be sent to: Harris Bank, c/o Ditty Children’s Education Fund, 826 E. 9th St., Lockport, IL  60441.

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