By Brad Edwards

CHICAGO (CBS) — Summer heat could set a record on Thursday in Chicago, so plenty of people are getting ready to use their air conditioners full blast.

For those without air conditioning, they’ll either have to settle for fans, head to the local pool to take a dip, or visit one of dozens of cooling centers across the city to beat the heat.

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But one elderly woman from Maywood, who was afraid she’d be left without a good way to stay cool after her air conditioning broke, is getting just what she wanted, thanks to CBS 2 viewers.

“It’s an inconvenience and it scares you,” said Mary McLemore of the heat. Her air conditioner was broken and she said she didn’t have the money to get it fixed or buy a new one.

Thanks to offers from dozens of CBS 2 viewers, that’s not a problem anymore.

McLemore is 89 years old and has trouble walking. She’s one of those people local officials regularly remind us that we need to watch out for when there’s extreme heat or cold.

After CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reported her plight on Tuesday – dozens of viewers stepped forward to offer her a free A/C unit, via email, phone and more.

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“I’m about to cry,” McLemore said Wednesday, overcome with emotion. “Y’all don’t know. This is a blessing.”

Two new A/C units were installed on Wednesday – a $750 value – for free.

Keith Pace, an employee of the Sears store in Melrose Park, enlisted the store’s help, and it stepped up with two free air conditioners for McLemore, and installed the units for her.

“I saw it [the story] last night and I watched it again today,” Pace said. “I’m pretty proud. It’s a pretty cool day for me.”

Pace wasn’t alone in offering help. More than a dozen others also offered to give McLemore units they didn’t need. McLemore certainly isn’t alone in needing such offers of help.

“There’s so many more Mary’s out there,” said McLemore’s home nurse, Lisa Panzani.

To keep cool during the heat wave, McLemore’s caretakers at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital Home Health – where 20 nurses monitor 160 mostly elderly patients – suggest people should use fans to keep cool, stay hydrated, have cold compresses ready, keep their blinds closed during the day, and make sure they have a list of emergency contacts to keep in touch.

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As for McLemore, she said, “I’m crying because I thought nobody cared about me – but I love you all. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Brad Edwards