Chicago In Good Taste: Charlie’s Story

Charlie McKenna, Chef + Founder, Lillie Q’s

The Lynn Sage Foundation has a generous and diverse base of supporters, none more so than Chicago’s restaurant community. For the past twelve years, over 200 restaurants have supported innovative breast cancer research each October through In Good Taste. Their incredible effort has raised almost $1 million for early career scientists studying the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

Charlie lost his aunt Katherine to breast cancer after a 7 year battle in 2000. To honor Katherine, his family founded the Katherine McKenna Brothers Scholarship Foundation. The Foundation keeps Katherine’s legacy alive by providing women full-ride scholarships to Katherine’s undergraduate alma mater, Brenau University in Gainseville, Georgia. To date, the fund has supported more than 19 women at the university.

In addition to providing support for this fund, Charlie wanted to do more and give back in a larger way. In April of 2019, Charlie created Barbecure as a means to raise funds for cancer research and to positively impact families and communities affected by cancer. Barbecure raises funds through events, specialty product sales and donations. Funds raised are donated to the family foundation as well as a rotating charity.

This year, Charlie selected the Lynn Sage Foundation for Barbecure’s rotating charity. Charlie’s aunt Katherine was in the medical field. The Lynn Sage Foundation’s mission of supporting innovative research and early career scientists closely aligns with the mission of the KMB Foundation. Barbecure 2020 was in motion to be a rib cook-off event with talented chefs participating from around Chicago.

Since large events are not possible at this time, Charlie decided to join our In Good Taste campaign. This October he’s fundraising through Lillie’s Q restaurant and their award-winning sauces that will take your BBQ to a whole new level; available online at Lillie’s Q is named after his grandmother Lillie and his father Quito. Lillie’s Q believes BBQ worth writing home about starts with 100% natural ingredients worth scouring for. So with every bite, know you’re enjoying flavors as authentic as the places they come from.

“Although COVID has canceled most in person events this year, it still feels important to give back and support local charities in our community. Aunt Katherine was an inspiration when it came to believing in and supporting others, and I am proud to continue her legacy to benefit more women.”

Twelve years in, and over 200 restaurants have participated to give back through Chicago’s In Good Taste. Thank you to all our partners – and the patrons of those partners – for your commitment to the research that will redefine what it means to have breast cancer.

As we all navigate this difficult year, please continue to patronize the local establishments that make Chicago fabulous.  Thank you for supporting our partners!

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