With a goal of raising more than of $100,000 to donate to LUNGevity, a charity with strong Deerfield ties, Deerfield High School opened its three-week School Chest drive Thursday with an assembly at the school.
In the last three years, the annual charity event has raised between $87,000 and $98,000. “It is something we are striving for,” Co-chair Graham Ambrose said. “Advocacy and education is very important too.” Samantha Gottstein is the other co-chair.
LUNGevity was founded 12 years ago by seven lung cancer patients including Deerfield High School graduate Gayle Levy and a young Deerfield mother, Melissa Zagon.
Gottstein and Ambrose let it be known one in 14 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime and it is the leading cause of cancer death. “It’s not just people in our generation but the older generation (we are trying to help),” Ambrose said. “It (LUNGevity) gives hope to so many people.
Looking at a number of charities before deciding on LUNGevity, Ambrose and Gottstein found the locally based group met all their criteria. “LUNGevity surpassed the criteria for the ideal School Chest beneficiary, having both deep roots in the Chicagoland area and an indescribable ability to inspire members of the community,” Gottstein said.
Over the next three weeks, there are a number of ways members of the community can help raise awareness and donate to School Chest. One event, a dinner Sunday at the Hyatt Deerfield, is already at capacity. There are plenty of other opportunities.
A portion of the proceeds from food and beverages sold at Claim Company Wednesday, the Deerfield Potbellies Dec. 7 and Wapaghetti’s Pizza Dec. 13 will go to the School Chest. Other events include:
- Run for Change, Deerfield High School's annual 5K run and walk through the Prairie Wolf Slough at 9:30 Saturday at the high school. Registration at 9 a.m. is $30. Participants will get warm snacks and drinks provided by Deerfield High School and Running Away. There is also on line registration.
- Deerfield Idol, the school's version of the television show, seeks the most talented vocalist in the community at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium. Students vote for their peers with loose change. The performer with the highest donation total is crowned.
- Mr. DHS, an all-male competition at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 in the auditorium operated like Miss America, showcases the talents of the school's senior class in front of the entire student body. Participants are judged on talent, style of their choreographed dance and their elocution in the question and answer segment.
- There will be a Mah Jongg night open to anyone in the community from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 12 in the cafeteria. In addition to the games, there will be food, entertainment and raffles. The cost is $20.
Gottstein and Ambrose also encourage online donations. “In the very process of bettering our community we affirm the idea that a group of committed individuals can change the world,” Ambrose said.