Fundraising efforts that already have produced more than $50,000 for the family of a Lake Villa Bears fan killed in Jacksonville, Fla. will culminate Saturday at a Wrigleyville event featuring several Bears players.
William Pettry, of Lake Villa, died Sunday morning after he was stabbed in the neck overnight at Fionn MacCool's bar His wife, Karen Hunt Pettry, is a stay-at-home mom who looks after their three children.
The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at John Barleycorn, 3524 N. Clark St., Chicago. Attendees will be asked for donations at the door.
The efforts, led by Bears tight end Kellen Davis and Wayne Jett of McHenry, who owns Sideline Marketing, have garnered national attention and brought in checks from all over the country, Jett said.
Davis, former defensive tackle Tommie Harris, fullback Jason McKie and guard Chris Spencer are among Bears players scheduled to attend.
"I just got a call about five minutes ago with a $5,000 donation," Jett said Friday morning. "Right now, it's all going to the family. It's going to tuition. It's going to a trust where they can use it for a mortgage payment. This will end up taking care of the family for life."
The event and subsequent attention has come together quickly. The family was planning a smaller get-together a couple of days ago to celebrate Pettry's life, Jett said.
But a friend of the family contacted Jett, who's put together charity events involving Bears players in the past, and asked that he head up efforts to help Pettry's family.
"Let's go ahead and make this big," Jett said he told Pettry's mom and sister. "Let's still celebrate his life, but let's make it so that you can get taken care of and don't have to worry again about money."
Jett said it's been hectic throwing together an event in half a week, but the response from the public has made things easier.
"So many people want to help," he said.
A suspect, Matthew Hinson, 27, was arrested shortly after the incident, which occurred the night before the Bears played the Jaguars in Jacksonville last Sunday afternoon. Hinson has been charged with murder.
If you go
William Pettry fundraiser
What: A fundraiser to benefit the family of William Pettry
Where: John Barleycorn, 3524 N. Clark St., Chicago
Cost: Attendees will be asked for donations at the door
Those who aren't able to attend the event can donate to William Pettry's family by visiting www.sidelinemarketingltd.com.