This has been a month of fundraising for wonderful organizations tying together restaurants, hotels, wine and spirits and VERY generous people. Last week, I shared how a prestigious cooking school, Kendall College, and fresh and modern, Fig and Olive Restaurant, were able to raise funds for their scholarships and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, respectively, over fried chicken, champagne and salmon!
Today, I have two new experiences to share with you:
When a child is ill, all we want to do is make them better. When a child passes away, the world stops for the family. Once we realize our lives will continue, we need to find a way to go on. Chicago couple, Carrie and Terry Meghie, did just that by creating the Jackson Chance Foundation in honor of their beloved baby boy who lived all 10 months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). After realizing parking costs reached over $1000 a month for families visiting their babies in the NICU, they created the foundation to take the financial burden away.
“Our mission at Jackson Chance Foundation is to enrich the lives of families with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit by allowing them to spend more time with their critically ill baby. “
This past October, we celebrated the 4th annual Playing it Forward Ping Pong Ball at the Hard Rock Hotel in honor of the Jackson Chance Foundation.
This high-energy, interactive gala brought out the most competitive players yet. The Ping Pong Ball was filled with lots of fun competition, laughter, good food, auction items and very giving people.Held at the Hard Rock Hotel, Chicago, guests dined on food and drinks from Chuck’s: A Kerry Simon Kitchen and Mr. Brown’s Lounge.
Former NICU baby and now U.S. Table Tennis Champion, Nandan, who challenged anyone daring enough to play the game with him, was inspiring to watch strategize each game. At the VIP portion of the event which began in advance of the main party, Killerspin Table Tennis hosted a session to teach players tips and tricks on how to play a good game whether competitively or just for fun.
The Jackson Chance Foundation feels that no baby should be without their family while they are in the NICU. Which means that worrying about paying for parking shouldn’t be something they even have to think about. Currently, the program is in effect at Lurie Children’s Hospital but is expanding soon to include Prentice Women’s Hospital.
This evening was also a celebration of the hard work and dedication that NICU nurses give to babies and their families by honoring one special nurse with the Owl Give award ceremony.
I have participated in this Foundation’s events for two years now. Carrie and Terry’s passion can be seeing in all that they are doing. In fact, Carrie was just named a CNN Hero. How fantastic is that?! And so well deserved! The Jackson Chance Foundation has raised over $1.8 million dollars since it’s inception, all thanks to the Meghie’s dedication and the generosity of supporters.
For more information on all the Jackson Chance Foundation is doing, please visit here.
I was invited to take “Flight” on Friday night at Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel on behalf of the Children’s Oncology Services organization as they raise funds for their One Step Camp programs. The term “Flight” represents the journey these children take as they leave their present world of cancer treatments to go to camp. Yes, camp.
When your child is sick, all you want them to do is get better so they can enjoy all the fun things kids do. Like go to camp! Well, thanks to the Children’s Oncology Services amazing organization, your kids can do just that! At One Step Camps, children battling any form of cancer attend camp with other children in similar situations but who want to just play and be kids.
There are more than 10 camps supported by this organization to choose from:
- Brain tumor family camp
- Chicago day camp
- Dude ranch
- Family camp
- Sibling camp
- Springfield, IL, program
- Summer camp
- Utah ski program
- Washington, D.C. program
- Whitewater adventure
- Winter camp
This is the 38th year of offering camp experiences to children under the age of 19 who want to go swimming, play games, listen to music, hang out with their new friends and be outside of a hospital environment but still be able to get their unique form of care when needed by the medically trained personnel. As I listened to the speakers, I learned so much about the dedication that anyone affiliated with this organization feels. Counselors are in many cases, former campers (and cancer patients).
Some of the guests at the event want so badly to help that they create their own fundraising activities over the course of the year and then donate the proceeds to the organization. I had the distinct pleasure of sitting at a table with a family who told me all about their fundraising goals and efforts. Their passion for helping this camp be available for the kids is just heartwarming.
As we enjoyed the dinner and live auction, this family continued to support the kids by bidding on various packages. As the auction moved to raising money to send individual kids to camp, it was time to bring out the pink flamingos. These sweet, fluffy flamingos were auctioned off with each one sending an individual child to camp. Hand after hand went up to sponsor a child or children to attend the One Step Camp. It was fabulous to see all the generosity!
As I wandered the silent auction area at the beginning of the evening, I saw this beautiful little girl with her parents who were there as a part of the main program in support of the One Step Camps.
When I asked to take a photo of her and her sweet sister, the love from one sister to the other radiated off the photo as Addison wrapped her arm around her sister and Riley took her hand.
The Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago, hosted this tropical event with a “Flight” to the Caribbean for One Step Camps largest fundraiser of the year.
A tropical themed menu included mango, sugar cane and plantains among other delicious ingredients
and music, along with silent and live auctions as well as a tribute to Armin and Esther Hirsch Foundation and the Chicago Cubs for supporting the camps from a financial and experience perspective.
Jeff Infusino, President of Chicago Oncology Services, so eloquently states that: “Flight represents the way that One Step Programs empower kids who have cancer, encouraging them to take on the world.”
The warmth in the evening at this event was palpable. This was for the kids. Because kids should be able to go to camp to run free, play with their friends and do everything that children love to do naturally. For more information on all that One Step Camp offers to children, their families and the community, or to volunteer, please visit Chicago Oncology Services, Inc., One Step Camp.