Fundraiser to honor EVTHS grad
Timothy McGuire and his sister Jessie in a photograph from 1993. (Photograph courtesy of the McGuire family)
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:13AM
EVANSTON — The Friends of Timmy — the group of friends and family members which have sprung up to honor Evanston Township High School graduate Timothy McGuire’s memory — are scheduled to hold their second fundraiser Oct. 6.
The odds are good the drinks and the memories will be flowing about the outgoing youth. He was co-captain of the soccer team his senior year and an honors student before bipolar disorder felled him and led to his death May 12, 2001.
One thing you shouldn’t expect at the fundraiser is a sad and sober tone.
For one thing, “if he had voting power he would have voted against it,” Jessie McGuire, an assistant state’s attorney, said about her younger brother.
“We wanted the event to be in the spirit of Tim, who was very funny, very fun-loving, loved to go out,” she said.
Her brother was a member of the ETHS soccer team, a midfielder, on the team that went to the state finals in 1995. A 1997 graduate of ETHS, he went on to attend Skidmore College where he was an honors student
He spent the fall 1999 semester studying in Ireland. It was when he had returned home around Christmas time that he had his first full-blown manic episode. In January, he was hospitalized and diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.
The disorder is a flaw in brain biochemistry and has nothing to do with character, the family noted, writing about Tim’s trials on a website, friendsoftimmy.org
With the right kind of treatment and medication, people can manage the disorder and have productive and fulfilling lives.
In Tim’s case, “he was unique,” his sister said. He fell into the small percentage of people who have allergic reactions to the standard medications prescribed for treatment.
Over the last 15 months of his life, the family noted, “Tim bravely endured a series of seven increasingly experimental medication protocols, always cooperating with his doctors in an effort to find a treatment that would arrest the disease.
“Unchecked by an effective medication, his disease raged as if untreated,” the family wrote on the website, “increasing the possibility of suicide, characteristic of untreated bipolar disorder.”
On May 12, “Tim, his family, friends and doctors simply ran out of time,” taking his life.
Family members are hopeful that future research will shed light on some of Tim’s struggles.
“He did everything he could conceivably do to get better, in the face of really, really unpleasant side effects,’’ McGuire noted. “He wanted to get better. I think that if we hadn’t run out of time he would have gotten better.”
A Timothy McGuire scholarship was established in his name in 2008. The scholarship has been awarded to four graduating ETHS seniors who have demonstrated a financial need, academic achievement and commitment to community service, the family said.
In line with Timothy’s lifelong love, preference is given to soccer players, and so far every recipient has been a member of the ETHS soccer team.
McGuire started as a child, competing in the Pele soccer program, and competing through high school. Soccer was “at the core of who he was as a person,” his sister said.
Last year’s fundraiser raised more than $10,000. Organizers are hoping to put 100 percent of the money raised into the scholarship, and to gradually increase the yearly $1,000 amount.
The event starts at 8 p.m. at Tommy Nevin’s, 1454 Sherman and is open to all. A $20 donation is suggested at the door.
Aside from the financial support, the fundraiser is a chance for people to “get together and connect and reminisce,” Jessie McGuire said.