14th Annual Goombay Bash raises more than $500,000 for cancer research

The word “Goombay” may be a noun, referring to a type of Caribbean music, but on Saturday, July 12, it was definitely — and often — an exclamation.

One might call the declaration of “Goombay!” a battle cry against cancer, since it was uttered throughout the 14th annual Goombay Bash at Navy Pier by speakers and guests, who simultaneously celebrated the festive theme of the evening and came together to help the fight against cancer. As Michael LaPidus, owner of Q-BBQ in La Grange, and a member of the board of directors of sponsoring organization The H Foundation, said in his opening remarks, “I’ve never seen so many good looking people in one place to fight something so ugly.”

Celebrity guest Kyle Long of the Chicago Bears also underscored the importance of the Goombay Bash in finding a cure for cancer. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do — cancer can affect any of us, and that’s why we’re all here,” he told the several hundred guests in attendance.

Long’s sentiments were echoed by other celebrity guests, including Bears teammate David Bass, actor George Wendt, former NBA player and sports analyst Kendall Gill, “Chicago P.D.” actor LaRoyce Hawkins, CBS2 sports anchor Ryan Baker, former University of Illinois basketball player Steve Bardo and Miss Illinois Teen Miranda Fenzau.

As guests noshed on Caribbean-style fare and drinks in Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom and on the outside terrace along Lake Michigan, they learned how funds raised by The H Foundation go to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Care Center of Northwestern University to support basic science cancer research. In a poignant part of the evening, cancer survivors in the crowd were asked to stand, and were accordingly applauded.

At the end of the night, more than $557,000 was raised by the 2014 Goombay Bash.

Kate Harken, executive director of The H Foundation, says that even as the fireworks and music wound down another successful party, the organization’s work continues. “We are so proud of the progress that our funding has provided. But there is still much work to be done. We won’t stop until a cure is found,” she said.

For more information, visit www.HFoundation.org.

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