Council approves Luc Bodden day
Sept. 14 to memorialize treasured fan, celebrate life
September 28, 2017
The Municipal Advisory Council unanimously voted to dedicate Sept. 14 to Luc Bodden, a Red Oak student and unofficial and beloved member of the Oak Park High School football and basketball teams. Bodden died Sept. 14, 2016. at the age of 10, from a post-operative infection after fighting sickle cell anemia.
Luc was born May 12, 2006 and was an active member of the Oak Park community. He became a ball boy for the football team in 2015. He tried his hardest to never miss a game and was an avid supporter of all Oak Park sports.
Luc Bodden day will aim to remind everyone that the time individuals share with each other should be treasured.
Riley Battin, senior and basketball team member, was a close friend of Luc’s and said he is very supportive of the new day that will memorialize his friend.
“I think it’s awesome. I think that it is a great way to show remembrance to Luc as well as draw attention to how important it is to enjoy every second you have because you never know what might happen,” Battin said.
Luc united the Oak Park community through his never-give-up attitude and his fighting spirit. He had an immense impact on many students such as Battin and senior and basketball team member Wes Slajchert. Slajchert met Luc during his freshman year after a basketball game, and said their bond grew instantly.
“Over time I built a relationship with him. He became more and more of a best friend, and I felt my role in his life grow and his role in my life grew as well,” Slajchert said. “Nearing when he started to go to the hospital, I was his big brother. All of my brothers were very tight with him, and we were just one giant family.”
In order to enact this day, close family friend Nikki De La Torre drafted a proclamation with Luc’s mother. The day was officially passed Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Municipal Advisory Council meeting with a unanimous vote in favor of establishing Luc Bodden Day. De La Torre spoke on behalf of the Bodden family and Oak Park community.
“We lost our dearest friend Luc last September. We wanted to do something this homecoming,” De La Torre said. “Luc was huge in our community and every time you saw Luc he was smiling. He was a fighter and a very strong kid. You would always see Luc at football games, at basketball games, and he was kind of their mascot.”
Luc was a sports fanatic who loved the thrill of a good matchup, and, as a result, he often turned eating food into a competition. He loved to try and eat more than everyone else and always tried as many foods as possible. Luc also was an avid Dallas Cowboys fan and could almost always be found sporting a Cowboys hat. He was a 10-year-old boy who loved life.
His memory continues to live on through the LucStrong movement and Foundation. According to their website, “The LucStrong Foundation offers grants, parking vouchers and gift cards to assist eligible families in meeting the financial challenges they are faced with.”
“[The movement] is not about a sense of loss but more a sense of hope. It’s a deeper set of beliefs that I can embody throughout my whole life,” Slajchert said.
Battin also lives by LucStrong and uses it as a way to keep pushing forward.
“I always try to live LucStrong. I wear a bracelet with his name on it every day,” Battin said. “Whenever I am doing something and I don’t want to or it’s too hard, I just think, ‘You have to do it for Luc.’ That just motivates me to keep going through tough times.”
Battin recalled a memory of Luc that he believes exemplified Luc’s character and charisma.
“It was one of the last times I saw him. Wes and I walked into the hospital at UCLA and he was in the bed and he had a bunch of tubes strapped to him and immediately asked about the team,” Battin said. “He was already asking about the team with everything going on with him. [It] was never about himself.”