The 14th annual Goombay Bash  brought about 970 guests to the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom on July 12, 2014, to raise money for cancer research. The fundraiser, hosted by Hortons Home Lighting , LaGrange, IL, and its organization The H Foundation , was still wildly successful despite the fact that it took place three weeks earlier than previous years — to date, the event has raised $560,000 for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at 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 $5 million for basic cancer research since its inception, and the Caribbean-themed Goombay Bash is its biggest annual event.
The lighting industry has historically been a huge supporter of Goombay Bash and this year was no different. Industry sponsors included: Hortons Home Lighting; Hinkley Lighting; Generation Brands; Kichler; Ron and Rosemary DeVries; Emerson; American Lighting Brands; Bay Valley Sales (Terry Mullen); Residential Lighting, The Uttermost Co.; Maxim Lighting & ET2 Contemporary Lighting; Fanimation; J.I. Marketing (Jim Ippolito); Neil & Marnie Graves; Origina; Quoizel; Crystorama; and Charles Meshwork. In total, these sponsors contributed approximately $30,000.
“The support the lighting industry shows through the Goombay Bash is both humbling and inspiring,” says John Rot, owner of Hortons Home Lighting and founder of Goombay Bash. “It is an amazing feeling to look around the event and see so many people who have traveled from all parts of the country to come together for one night to support our very personal mission to find a cure for cancer.”
Special guests included Kyle Long, player for the Chicago Bears; actor George Wendt; Miss Teen Illinois Miranda Fenzau; former NBA player and sports analyst Kendall Gill; the Bears' David Bass; LaRoyce Hawkins from “Chicago PD;” Stephen Bardo, former NBA player and ESPN analyst; and Ryan Baker, U of I Basketball Manager and CBS Sports announcer.
Other venues are being explored as the event continues to grow, and the date and location of the 15th annual Goombay Bash have yet to be announced.