My son recently graduated from kindergarten, a magical age where kids are smart enough that they sometimes surprise you, yet innocent enough that they never truly shock you. His expanding vocabulary of “potty words” remains age-appropriate, yet hints at the outside influences that will increasingly chip away at his previously sheltered, home-centric existence as he gets older.
There’s one word in particular that I’m concerned he will learn far too soon: cancer. You see, two of his friends have mothers battling Stage IV cancers right now — women my age who led healthy lifestyles. I’m hopeful for positive outcomes, but bracing for questions along the way, including the dreaded “why?”.
You may have already heard of the H Foundation in some of our previous coverage. Hortons Home Lighting in LaGrange, IL — our 2010 Showroom of the Year winner for Exceptional Community Involvement — co-founded the organization 11 years ago in response to losing two employees to cancer in the same year. One of these employees was Pam Herts, who was 31 at the time with a one-year-old son.
Hortons wanted to make a difference, creating an annual fundraiser that contributed to basic science research, the forefront of medicine where real breakthroughs are made in finding a cure for cancer. But instead of a stuffy black-tie affair, the group opted for a casual, Caribbean-themed party they named the Goombay Bash, after a tropical drink called the Goombay Smash.
Apparently, they got the mix right because the event has raised more than $4 million in total to help eradicate cancer — $575,000 of that last year alone. What’s more, the group’s donations have been used as seed money to secure almost $30 million in additional government or private funding for research.
As this year’s Goombay Bash approaches on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Chicago’s Navy Pier Ballroom, there are several ways that you can get involved. If you are local or inclined to visit the Windy City, you can buy tickets to the event (just $125 if you order before July 21). You can also be a sponsor or e-mail Executive Director Mary Sanders about contributing merchandise to be auctioned on-site. Of course, you can also simply make a donation — every amount clearly adds up. And I’ve been so proud to watch how the lighting industry has rallied around this cause and made it a success.
I may not be able to protect my son from knowing what cancer is, but by supporting the Goombay Bash each year, I’m doing something tangible in the fight against what cancer does.