Goombay grooves for a cure
(from left) Kevin McDonnell of Western Springs, Marylin and Don Chopp of Indian Head Park and Terri McDonnell of Western Springs. | Michael Jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media
Event: Goombay Bash
Organizers: H Foundation
Benefiting: Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of
Updated: August 23, 2012 2:11PM
The atmosphere at every Goombay Bash is palpable right from the start, with smiling teenage volunteers handing out leis and welcoming guests in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. This year’s Aug. 11 event was no exception.
The cavernous ballroom was filled to bursting with round tables decorated with bonsai trees and bags of flavored popcorn from Madly Pop’n in Lyons, and ringed with tables loaded with silent auction items. Hand-painted market umbrellas, which were up for auction as well, decorated the upper portions of the walls.
More than 1,000 people attended this year’s bash, and the H Foundation, which organizes the event, raised $500,000 for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University for cancer research funding.
Huge screens flanked the stage and displayed photographs and names of those afflicted by cancer, in whose honor the festivities are held.
Outside, bars serving the event’s signature Goombay Smash lined the patio while the jazzy beats of the Paul Windsor Orchestra enticed partygoers to dance beneath clear blue skies, with a view of the lake and the skyline.
Guests dressed in brightly-colored dresses, Hawaiian shirts and sandals mingled, laughed and talked, and the conversation revolved around why everyone was really there.
“It’s a great event,” said Western Springs resident Kevin McDonnell. “Everyone is supportive of the cause. Everyone has been touched by cancer.”
“My husband Bruce is celebrating his second year cancer-free,” said Diane Harken of Western Springs. “We’ve been coming for nine or 10 years. Our oldest daughter, Kate, joined the H Foundation board so she could give back.”
That sense of giving back is what makes the atmosphere so wonderful, but there’s no mistaking that this is a party, albeit for a good cause. “It’s a fun, casual event,” said Becky Hayes of LaGrange Park who has attended with her husband Tim, an H Foundation board member, for the past 12 years. “It’s a party along with the fundraising.” ~.