Using Inspiration
Laura Van Zeyl

The timing couldn’t be better. In the latest issue of Today’s Chicago Woman magazine, I’ve somehow found myself on its list of 100 Women of Inspiration, in the company of our city’s major female philanthropists, civic leaders and even celebrated architect Jeanne Gang. I’m thrilled not only for the personal and professional recognition (always nice), but also for the attention it will bring to the cause that landed me among such an esteemed group.

For two years, I’ve served on the Advisory Board for The H Foundation, a cancer research charity that was founded by Hortons Home Lighting after the retailer lost a beloved employee to cancer. The community and our industry have rallied around this cause, helping the organization raise more than $5 million to date for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University. These funds are used as seed money for basic science cancer research projects which then compete for additional government or private funding, already resulting in $35 million of research dollars dedicated to finding a cure.

Most of the foundation’s contributions come from an annual event called the Goombay Bash, which is taking place a few weeks earlier than usual this year on Saturday, July 12. I’m hoping the coverage I’m receiving for my volunteer efforts translates in some last-minute support as The H Foundation hits the home stretch leading up to this year’s Bash.

No doubt we have all been touched by cancer in one way or another. “Cancer is personal to us” is The H Foundation’s tagline because everybody involved can cite at least one person who prompted their undaunted dedication to cancer research. These individuals — whether in memoriam, in support as they battle the disease or in honor of their survival — are the real inspirations here. I have loved ones in all of those categories who inspire me, but I’m particularly driven by the loss of a friend and young mother last year.

If you are similarly moved, there’s still time to make a difference. If you’re local, consider attending the Goombay Bash at Chicago's Navy Pier on July 12. It’s a casual, Caribbean-themed celebration featuring appearances by Chicago Bears lineman Kyle Long and George Wendt, the actor who played Norm on “Cheers.” If you can’t make the event, you can still donate cash or, until they sell out (only 1,000 are available), you can purchase a $50 raffle ticket for a chance to win $10,000. I encourage you to do it now, while you’re inspired.

About this author

Laura Van Zeyl

Laura Van Zeyl is the Publisher/Editorial Director of Residential Lighting and Home Fashion Forecast magazines, and has been covering the lighting and home furnishings industries since 1993. In 2014, she was named one of "100 Women of Inspiration" by Today's Chicago Woman magazine.

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