The Chicago White Sox will recognize the late Chicago comedian Bernard “Bernie Mac” McCullough during its game against the Texas Rangers this weekend.
According to White Sox officials, Sunday is “Bernie Mac Day,” and fans are asked to wear purple in honor of April being National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month. Bernie Mac died from sarcoidosis in 2008.
The entertainer, who hailed from the city’s Englewood neighborhood, will be recognized at the beginning of the 1:15 p.m. game with his widow Rhonda McCullough, throwing out the first pitch.
“I hope I don’t hit anyone when I throw out the ball,” she jokingly said. “My husband was a big White Sox fan and we would go to games a lot. I still go to see them play but not as much as I did when Bernie was here.”
The Bernie Mac Foundation will also receive a donation from tickets purchased by Friday for Sunday’s game, according to McCullough . To purchase discounted tickets, go to the foundation’s website to fill out an order form.
While acknowledging that sarcoidosis is not as known as other diseases like cancer, McCullough said awareness about it has grown since her husband’s death.
“One of the things we are doing at the Bernie Mac Star (Mac Sarcoidosis Translational Advanced Research) Center [at the University of Illinois-Chicago] is to raise awareness about it especially to people of color and adults 20 to 30-years old, who, according to research, gets it a lot,” she said.
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs in the body, but mostly the lungs and lymph glands.
Doctors said symptoms of sarcoidosis can vary greatly, depending on which organs are involved. And most patients initially complain of a persistent dry cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include tender reddish bumps or patches on the skin; hoarse voice; red and teary eyes or blurred vision; and enlarged and tender lymph glands in the neck, armpits, and groin.
The comedian, who would have turned 59-years-old this year, is still a mainstay among Chicagoans, who said they continue to watch his TV show.
“That was one funny guy. I watch The Bernie Mac Show every chance I get,” said Sean Mullins, 59, an Englewood resident. “One of my favorite movies is Life with Bernie Mac, Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.”
McCullough added that she also looks at the Bernie Mac Show and her husband’s movies.
“Watching him in The Original Kings of Comedy cracks me up. I can hear him laughing now,” said McCullough. “I need a good laugh sometimes. That helps me to get through those difficult days of missing him. I think about him every day.”
The mother and grandmother added that if she could have told her husband one thing before he died it would have been “how proud I was of the man he had become,” explained McCullough. “I gave him my best and we had a good marriage, so I know he left us knowing I loved him.”