The eventual completion of the Kennedy Road bike trail in Yorkville has special meaning for the McCue family.

Darlene McCue, 46, was struck by a pickup truck and killed in July 2009 while riding her bike on Kennedy Road. Her stepdaughter Cristin, who was riding alongside her at the time, was also struck and injured, but survived.

In 2012, the organization Push for the Path was formed. Members said it was in response to city officials’ reluctance to fund the city’s share of a $1.3 million Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant for constructing the trail, planned for Kennedy Road between Route 47 and Galena Road. The City Council accepted the grant in February 2012 with the understanding that private donors would raise the city’s share.

Lynn Dubajic, the city’s economic development consultant, helped form Push for the Path with the help of a group of Yorkville residents to raise the $357,000 needed for the city’s share of the grant. For Dubajic, the effort was personal.

Dubajic was Darlene McCue’s neighbor and the two comforted each other as their husbands both battled and died of cancer within three years of each other. Danny McCue, an Aurora Fire Department captain and paramedic, died at 49 in 2005, and Al “Mischi” Dubajic died at 50 in 2008.

The latest Push for the Path fundraiser will be its annual PeppeRUNi 5K race beginning at 8 a.m. May 7 at Rosatis Pizza and Pub at 1985 Marketview Drive in Yorkville. Registration starts on race day at 7 a.m. and the price of registration includes a T-shirt and a free slice of pizza following the race.

Early registration will be taken at the Yorkville Parks and Recreation Department at 201 W. Hydraulic Ave. in Yorkville or online at yorkvilleparksandrecreation.com.. Early registration is $30, with day-of-race registration costing $35.

Organizers say they are anticipating 300 runners to participate in the 5K fundraiser.

Following the race, at 10 a.m., there will be a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new bike trail. For the McCue family, and Dubajic, it’s a long time coming for a trail they say is needed for public safety.

“It’s really the moment we’ve been waiting for and we’re excited and thrilled for this to become a reality,” Dubajic said.

Dubajic called the trail the “missing link” to connect Yorkville’s bike trails to the Oswegoland and Fox Valley park district trails.

“It really has been a community effort, and a community larger than just Yorkville,” she said. “The McCue family has been very hands-on and involved, and they have a lot of connectivity throughout this region.”

Kari McCue, Darlene’s niece, is in charge of publicity for the Push for the Path effort. She said the group has raised $206,000 so far.

“It’s extremely important to the safety of the community and the families around there,” she said. “There are so many families that are growing in that area, and this path would be substantial for those families to be able to get from point A to point B safely.”

Alyssa McCue, Darlene and Danny’s daughter who was just a teenager when the accident occurred, is studying to be a nurse. She lives in the Autumn Creek subdivision in Yorkville with her daughter, Lorilye, near the future path.

Alyssa, 25, recalled the day of the accident. She remembers being brought with her younger brother, Brian, to the Rush-Copley Medical Center emergency room. There, they were greeted by Aurora firefighters, friends of her father.

“My dad’s buddies were there, they were all in uniform, and they greeted us with hugs,” she said.

Alyssa said Dubajic helped spark the fundraising effort, but that eventually the fundraisers allowed the family to focus on something positive.

“It was a really dark place for my family and I, and Lynn taking over was great because my whole family and I were in shock and coping, and she was able to take the reins and got this (fundraising) going,” she said. “Our emotions kind of flipped, and that was our goal, that was what we wanted to strive for.”

Alyssa said she still sees bicyclists and runners on Kennedy Road, and that the trail will be “a big deal, and I know a lot of families are going to benefit from it greatly.”

“This path, I think, means more to me and my family than we could ever express,” she said. “If we can save one life, or if we can save that child from experiencing what I felt, it would mean the world to me and I know it would mean the world to my family. I think a lot of people’s lives are going to be affected by it.

“I think whoever will use the path will feel a sense of safety because of my mom,” she said. “She is like their guardian angel now, and this is all happening because of her. I think it’s awesome and inspiring that we turned something so bad into something so positive.”

For more information on the upcoming 5K or the Push for the Path organization, visit pushforthepath.org or the organization’s page on Facebook. Those interested can also register at yorkvilleparksandrecreation.com.

The organizers are also looking for sponsors for the race. Anyone interested in a sponsorship can contact Kari McCue at karimccue@gmail.com, Billy McCue at billmccue5@gmail.com or Lynn Dubajic at lynn@dlkllc.com.

By: Tony Scott

Beacon News

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