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Chicago Family Honors Grandfather's Legacy at Soldier Field

This August, Francesca Gattuso and her family will participate in the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago’s LUNG FORCE Walk to honor their grandfather, Antonino “Nino” Gattuso, who died from small cell lung cancer a few months ago.

Nino was the patriarch of a large Italian family in Chicago with six kids, 18 grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren. He worked as a carpenter and a bricklayer for most of his life and then worked at his son’s Italian restaurant into his 80s and even through his cancer treatment.

“He was just larger than life,” said Gattuso. “He had story for everything. He had a joke for everything. He was very charming and you couldn’t help but love his energy.”

In 2017, Gattuso’s father-in-law, Paolo Gattuso, MD, Otho S. A. Sprague Professor of Pathology at Rush University Medical Center, noticed a lump on the side of Nino’s neck. After some testing, Nino was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy and immunotherapy, but on February 22, Nino succumbed to the disease.

“He was very positive throughout the whole thing. He was a very good patient. He was willing to do everything and anything to fight it,” said Gattuso.

After his death, Gattuso began searching for a way for the family to keep his legacy alive. She discovered the LUNG FORCE Walk and formed the team, Nino’s Bambinos. On August 12, Nino’s kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will come together to honor his memory.

“We wanted to do something together as a family to celebrate him. It is something where we can do together and enjoy each other’s company, while we raise awareness and money to fight lung cancer,” she said.

The LUNG FORCE Walk is on Sunday, August 12 at 10 a.m. The event kicks off at the Stadium Green at Soldier Field, and includes a three-mile walk along Lake Michigan, as well as a one-mile option for those with lung disease. It is free to register and participate, but fundraising is encouraged. More information and registration is available at LUNGFORCEWalkChicago.org

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