Married three months ago and both big Disney fans, John and Mary Calabrese learned Tuesday they’ve won a free trip to Disney World and will leave next week to celebrate a delayed honeymoon.
It wasn’t some contest or sweepstakes that made the all-expenses-paid, weeklong trip a reality, but an incurable cancer John suffers from that, doctors say, will in all likelihood in a few months claim the life of the 55-year-old school teacher, collector of antique newspapers, golfer and Abe Lincoln buff.
Diagnosed in August 2014 with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer, the resident of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community has been receiving chemotherapy at Pronger Smith Medical Care for more than a year. That’s where he was surprised with the news about the trip, made possible by Dream Foundation, a dream-granting organization for adults and their families facing terminal illness.
Calabrese for several years taught social studies at James Hart School in Homewood, and returned to work as a reading specialist at the school a little more than a week ago, saying that being around the students again has been “almost medicinal.” He was unable to work for more than a year after initially undergoing radiation treatment and chemotherapy to try to keep the cancer under control.