On Aug. 11, Hortons Home Lighting, LaGrange, IL, and its H Foundation hosted the 12th annual Goombay Bash, which brought nearly 900 people to the Grand Ballroom at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Guests sipped on signature “Goombay Smashes,” enjoyed international food and bid on hundreds of items — many donated by lighting manufacturers — to benefit cancer research. In seven hours, the event raised more than $500,000 for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
Cancer is personal to Hortons. After the company lost two employees to the disease, including 31-year-old Pamela Herts, it created the H Foundation to raise money and find a cure. The nonprofit has raised more than $4 million for basic cancer research since its inception, and the Caribbean-themed Goombay Bash is its biggest annual event.
The lighting industry always comes in force to this party; 2012 was no different. Manufacturers, reps and showrooms attended the event, bought auction items and donated cash. Feiss, Quoizel, Elk-Dimond, Adesso, Mondoluz, Uttermost, Stein World, Lite Source and Pacific Coast Lighting donated products to be auctioned off, and 16 lighting companies bought sponsorships totaling almost $40,000.
“I am so humbled by the support we have gotten from the lighting industry,” said John Rot, Chairman of the H Foundation, and owner of Hortons Home Lighting. “It is amazing to see a group of people, bound together by our businesses, come together for something completely outside the lighting world and to raise money for cancer research. It’s a night when competitors become friends.”
Throughout the night, all Goombay-ers kept busy. They got to meet and greet with former Chicago Bears players Adrian Peterson, Desmond Clark and Alex Brown, listen to inspiring stories of survival from speakers like CNN Hero Johnny Imerman, play the event’s popular guessing game “Pineapples and Palm Trees,” and watch an artist paint live on the stage in an act called Art Beat. A live auction also took place where guests bid on the artwork created, deluxe vacations — including a trip to the 2013 Presidential inauguration — and other luxury items.
Rob Johnson, a local CBS anchor and honorary H Foundation Board member, emceed the event for the sixth year in a row and kept the crowd loud. The Cancer Smashers youth group contingent of the H Foundation also kept the energy level high with its contagious enthusiasm. The group alone raised $23,000 for Lurie Cancer Center research.
Along with Johnson, other H Foundation Board honorary members include Bonnie Hunt, actress, daytime talk show host and former Lurie Cancer Center nurse; Kendall Gill, a Fighting Illini alumnus and former Chicago Bull; and Jim Peterik, Grammy Award-winning co-founder of the Ideas of March and Survivor.
Thanks to ongoing support of the lighting industry and the community at large, researchers will now be one step closer to finding a cure for cancer. Rot says the event will continue until a cure is found. The 13th annual Goombay Bash is already set for Aug. 3, 2013. For more information, visit www.goombaybash.com.