'Luke would have liked that'
RANTOUL — Luke Remington would have been 14 on Wednesday and in the middle of his eighth-grade year at St. Malachy School.
Leukemia, however, cut short his life on April 16, 2010.
Even so, he remains very much alive in the memories and thoughts of his family, friends and community.
The annual cancer walk, held the previous Saturday, bears his name.
And now so, too, do a set of basketball standards and hoops at St. Malachy.
With Luke's family and former classmates and teachers present, Luke's hoops were dedicated and blessed in a ceremony Wednesday morning outside the school.
"Luke would have liked that," said his mother, Erin Remington.
He would have liked that his friends and other students would be able to shoot baskets outside — something that Erin Remington said hadn't been available since the school was expanded several years ago and a new gymnasium was built where the former basketball standards were located.
The Rev. Joseph Donton gave a blessing; Erin Remington and Luke's brother, Brendan, cut the ribbon in a ribbon-cutting ceremony; and Luke's grandfather, Richard Taylor, put up the ceremonial first shot. The event was capped with a balloon release.
Part of the money for the new hoops came about after Erin and Brian Remington, Luke's dad, won the $1,000 grand prize in a Lucky Six drawing held by the school. They had bought the ticket for Luke's class. The drawing was held the same day a Mass was held on the one-year anniversary of Luke's death.
When the Remingtons asked Luke's class how they would like the money to be used, they agreed it should go for some outdoor basketball standards and hoops. The rest of the $3,000 needed came from a donation by Luke's League — a group formed to support Luke and his family.
"A lot of the teachers that year walked in the Illinois Marathon and raised money for Luke's League," Erin Remington said. "Most of the money came from that.
"With the marathon and the kids winning that $1,000, the idea came that it would be a good way to kind of celebrate Luke."
Erin Remington said it took a while to get everything approved for the basketball equipment, but it finally came about.
A group of volunteers erected the standards and hoops — Kenny During, Terry and Mike Glazik, Billy Michaels, Jack Anderson, Harry and Kris Martin and Tim Weitekamp.
A plaque near the hoops states that Luke and the school will always be a team.
St. Malachy Principal Jim Flaherty said the ceremony brought back "wonderful memories of Luke" to his classmates and others at the school.
"Today was kind of a bittersweet moment for us," Flaherty said. "We had smiles and we had tears. It was a very heartfelt moment."