The American Cancer Society Celebrates Life
Photograph by Jim Prisching
Due to their long-standing commitment of raising critical funds needed for those living with cancer to get well, stay well, and celebrate more birthdays, David and Barbara Speer of Winnetka have been tapped to be this year’s co-chairs of the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Discovery Ball on April 30. Touted as one of Chicago’s premiere black-tie events, the chairs promise an unforgettable evening of dinner, dancing, and live and silent auctions, all set within the Civic Opera House downtown.
A jaw-dropping $8.4 million has been raised since the Discovery Ball’s inaugural event in 2007. David Speer, Chairman and CEO of Illinois Tool Works Inc., attributes much of the event’s rampant success to the Board of Ambassadors, a powerhouse group consisting of more than 50 corporate and philanthropic leaders. Sponsorship from leading Fortune 500 companies who call Illinois home doesn’t hurt either: The past involvement of Motorola, United Airlines, Boeing, and Aon has helped situate this event as one of the Illinois Division’s most profitable.
“Unfortunately, you’d be hard-pressed to meet someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer in one way or another,” says David Speer. “And because cancer has had an impact on so many of Chicago’s philanthropic, business, and medical leaders, they have made this event a priority to help save more lives in Illinois.”
Regardless of past achievement, when it comes to cancer research and treatment, there is always more work to be done. David and Barbara, along with the Board of Ambassadors and the Associate Board, are dedicated to reaching their five-year, $10 million goal by the time the final silent auction bid sheet is picked up. Money raised from the Discovery Ball will help fund critical cancer research, education outreach, and programs, such as Patient Navigation Services, a function of the ACS which provides seamless access to free or discounted services and resources for cancer patients and their families.
The ACS is the only charitable organization fighting every form of cancer. Events like the Discovery Ball shift the focus back to what is most important: allowing the cancer survivor the best in treatment and latest innovations in research, promising a life filled with more ahead. “While the event is focused on raising money to fight cancer,” explains David, “it has always been a celebration of life, and this year will be no different.”
Tickets, sponsorship information, and silent and live auction donation forms for the Discovery Ball can be found at discoveryball.org.