Alston revels in North Shore roots
Carl Alston, raised in Evanston, is LRF director of communications and a camera buff. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 9, 2013 1:20AM
Carl Alston holds dear his North Shore roots.
We caught up with Alston, director of communications for the Wilmette-based Leukemia Research Foundation, at the Northbrook Pinstripes January Kids Party. Alston lives in Wheaton with his wife of 20 years, Mindy, and son 14-year-old son Ben, a Wheaton North High School student. Alston’s younger sister Chorine works for the city of Evanston. He is a 1982 Loyola Academy graduate and received his degree from Peoria Bradley University. Meet Carl Alston.
Q. What was is like growing up on the North Shore?
A. Growing up in Evanston was great. Perhaps the best part was going to school at St. Mary’s. That school really was a community. I learned there, worked there, enjoyed many friendships there. Sports led to rivals at St. Nick’s and St. Athanasius. Also, in Evanston, I was always one for venturing out and meeting people. My wanderings led me to St. Nicholas school and church. Years later St. Mary’s was closed and the school merged with St. Nick’s to create Pope John XXIII. The merger happened long after me and my sister had graduated and gone on to college, but I had already been incorporated into St. Nick’s parish with many friends I still keep in touch with today. The St. A’s folks became friends especially after starting high school at Loyola – not to mention St. Joan’s and St. Lambert’s in Skokie. From one community to another, to another – all merging into a bigger home at Loyola.
Q. How did your childhood shape you?
A. (It) showed me that one who had ambition had a chance to succeed. Everyone would give you a chance to show what you could do – reward your successes, teach you when things didn’t go so well, and give you lots of opportunities. Evanston was also quite diverse, which was a great education in and of itself.
Q. What is the mission of the Leukemia Research Foundation?
A. The Leukemia Research Foundation is dedicated to conquering all blood cancers by funding research into their causes and cures, and enriching the quality of life of those touched by these diseases.
Q. Why is Wilmette a great place to be?
A. Community, opportunity, and to some degree expectations are the key. Wilmette is a very supportive and friendly community. You can aspire and achieve in this community.
Q. What exciting things have you seen on the job?
A. One sees the connection with people who are ill. One sees progress over months and years with people who complete treatment and regain health. I see determination every day.
Q. What are some of your hobbies?
A. That depends on what day it is. Grilling/smoking any animal that moves – with the occasional veggie to augment – photography, travel to some degree. Racquetball and weightlifting, music, especially my son’s activities as a double bass and electric bass player in the Wheaton North High School orchestra and jazz band, the Youth Symphony of DuPage and other places. He actually plays about seven instruments at this point.
Q. How can one person make a difference?
A. Do for others. If you have money, donate. If you have time, volunteer. If there is a need, fill it. Even if you help one person, one child, one person take one step up or past what they know or can do – you’ve done something for the world. Share what you know, what you do, who you are, and you’ll definitely make a difference.