The 17th annual Goombay Bash shattered its fundraising record on Saturday night, raising over $700,000 to be donated to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. Several industry leaders were also honored for their continued contributions to the cause and the Bash, which was held on July 29 at Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom in Chicago. Over 1,000 industry professionals and their family members attended.
The bash kicked off with co-emcees radio personality Pete McMurrey and CBS2 Chicago's lead sports anchor Ryan Baker hyping up the crowd and leading the ballroom in a rousing Goombay cheer. Throughout the night, the two interviewed celebrity guest David Eigenberg (Chicago Fire and Sex and the City), former Chicago Bulls player and coach Bill Cartwright, actor and Honorary Board member George Wendt (Cheers) and many other local celebrities who attended to show their support for the foundation.
This year's bash also introduced the Guiding Light awards, an annual award to be given to industry leaders who have shown long-term support of The H Foundation and the Goombay Bash. Six lighting companies — Generation Brands, Hinkley, Kichler, Quoizel, Satco and WAC Lighting — received the inaugural honor. At the ceremony, the companies presented The H Foundation with a massive check for $15,000, and many made additional contributions.
Perhaps the most moving moment of the night came during Honorary Chairman Michael Meyer's address just before the live auction. A Management Consultant at Meyer Growth Management and a cancer fighter himself, Meyer told the crowd that his cancer was incurable, but with the help of doctors at Northwestern University, his cancer could be kept at bay and they could prolong his life. He spoke personally of how cancer had changed his life and impacted his family, and he thanked his wife for standing by his side. His speech received a standing ovation, cheers and even a bit of laughter.
After Meyer's moving speech, the live auction began. Goombay Bash goers bid on a number of amazing prizes such as exclusive tickets to sporting events and trips to Monserrat and New York were auctioned off. Some prizes raised over $14,000.
The Goombay Bash is an annual fundraising event created by The H Foundation. Launched in 2001, The H Foundation started as a way to honor Pam Herts, who had passed away from breast cancer at 31 years old. Hortons owner John Rot held the first Goombay Bash that year to remember her and to raise money for basic cancer research. Each year, the Goombay Bash brings the lighting industry together to raise money for a personal cause.
“As of today,” Rot said back in March of this year, “the H Foundation has raised over $7 million for cancer research. Many of our employees volunteer year-round to raise money for the foundation.”