Too many of us have felt the impact that cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses have on our lives and those of our loved ones. Whether we have a personal story or know someone that has been affected, the need for medical advancements and patient treatment is a unifying principle within our society.
Progress and Change through Science
Since 1913, the City of Hope has been gaining new insight into these illnesses and strives to one day eliminate them. Developing scientific breakthroughs and creating innovative care plans is what makes this organization one of the highest-rated, non-profit research centers and medical facilities in the United States. Recognized as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute, the City of Hope is one of only 49 organizations in the country with this elite designation.
The City of Hope’s main campus is located in Duarte, California with additional locations in Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties. Incorporating research, education, and patient care within their facilities provides medical professionals, students and patients the most current information for treatment options. It’s a big team, with a big mission.
International Home Furnishings Industry
To drive their mission forward, the City of Hope partners with 19 industries for fundraising and benefit efforts. Started in 1965, the Home Furnishings Industry and City of Hope joined forces as one of the first industry-affiliated chapters formed by the center. Since its partnership, the Home Furnishings community has and continues to hold charitable tennis and golf tournaments to raise funds and generate awareness for the organization. One of the most notable events is the annual City of Hope
Spirit of Life® Award Dinner.
Spirit of Life® Award Dinner
Each April during the High Point Market, City of Hope honors Home Furnishings leaders at a prestigious gala. Individual tickets or full-tables are purchased in advance with proceeds benefiting the center. As a four-star charitable organization, the best ranking available by Charity Navigator, over 80 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to City of Hope. This year, the Spirit of Life® event raised over $2.1 million raised, making it the 5th consecutive year the industry has broken a new record. It was attended by more than 1,000 members of the Home Furnishings community.
It was held on Sunday, April 15th at the Sheraton Hotel at Four Season, in Greensboro, North Carolina. The evening highlighted survivor stories, life-changing transformations, and overwhelming gratitude from individuals and their families who benefited from City of Hope and the generosity of its supporters.
Making a Difference
The atmosphere was emotional, uplifting, and a touching reminder of just how important it is to continue to support City of Hope. Retired President and CEO of Samson Marketing, Kevin O’Connor, opened the evening with a personal memory about his daughter, Christine O’Connor DesVergers, and her struggle with cancer. Christine lost her battle in 2011 at the age of 38 years young. The impact this made on O’Connor and his family is why he continues to champion cancer centers like City of Hope.
For the Children.
Dr. Yuman Fong, physician at City of Hope, expressed his gratitude and shared his story of hope and possibility he’s seen throughout his tenure. Thirty years ago, doctors struggled to save patients suffering from Level 1 cancer diagnoses, but today, they are successfully treating those with Level 4.
Fong has seen sick children carried through his doors, make a beautiful recovery, then walk on a stage to accept their diplomas or down an aisle towards their future spouse. Seeing these patients pursuing their dreams is what inspires him. Supporting City of Hope means saving-lives.
For the Families.
Award Honoree Grace Liu, Samson Holdings, took the stage and captivated the audience when she spoke about her brother who was affected by cancer at a very young age. His illness was felt by her entire family. She then asked the audience to raise their hand if they had family, friends, colleagues, or loved ones who had fought or were fighting a cancer diagnosis. Every single person responded. The demonstration was a powerful reminder of the evenings importance.
Lorri Kelley, President of BDI, surprised everyone when she announced a fundraising challenge on the spot. Kelley proposed that the Home Furnishings community pull out their smartphones and follow the “Text to Donate” instructions on the back of their programs. She set a $10,000 goal for attendees and the response was earth-shattering. The significant goal was met within three short minutes after it was proposed!
Special honors were attributed to three Home Furnishings leaders that embody the mission that drives City of Hope. Recipients were selected and celebrated for their philanthropic values, advocacy for change, and compassionate character.
Spirit of Life® Honorees
- Kim Yost, President and CEO of Art Van Furniture
- Samuel Kuo, CEO; and Grace Liu, Executive Director; and co-founders of Samson Holding
2018 Spirit of Life® Lifetime Achievement Award
- Art Van Elslander, Former President and CEO of Art Van Furniture and Van Elslander Capital
The City of Hope is nurturing an initiative for the Home Furnishings Industry called, Future Hope. This is a group made up of young professionals in the industry. Member of Future hope will be having their 2nd annual event during the upcoming Las Vegas Market at Top Golf in partnership with Next Generation Now.
In addition to the Future Hope gathering, the Women’s Health Initiative is holding their 3rd Annual City of Hope Campus Tour on Thursday, August 1st. In conjunction with the Women’s Health Initiative, City of Hope will be sending Dr. Laura Kruper, surgical oncologist and co-director of their Women’s Breast Program to help educate women at the WithIt Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.
Ways to Give
Finding a cause that stirs your passion and fosters generosity makes giving easy. No gift is too small. Please consider supporting the City of Hope with a one-time donation or becoming a sustaining contributor by setting up an automated monthly transaction. Be sure to select “International Home Furnishings Industry” from the menu before submitting your form.
Thank you City of Hope
Art Van Furniture speaks for all of us in the Home Furnishings Industry when they say, “it is our privilege to support [City of Hope] in your life-saving research to defeat cancer, diabetes and other diseases that have touched so many of our associates and friends. Your commitment brings hope to families in need and inspires us all.” We are proud to serve your organization and are encouraged by the breakthrough advancements you develop for research, treatment, and hope.