In an effort to fight the devastating effects of breast cancer, cut flower grower, The Sun Valley Group, Arcata, Calif., donated hundreds of colorful lilies to be auctioned at the GROW For Life (GFL) Lilyfest, a breast cancer fundraiser in Chicago March, 12, 2005.
“We are delighted to help," said Bruce MacDonald, executive vice president of sales and marketing for The Sun Valley Group. "Our president, Lane DeVries, is very supportive of regional, national and now international needs. And his way of thinking is our way of thinking - If we can help raise awareness of breast cancer, we're happy to be of service.”
In fact, The Sun Valley Group seems to be making philanthropy a way of life. Last month, the grower donated $40,000, the proceeds from all their January sales of Sumatra lilies, to tsunami relief efforts. "It's just the right thing to do, to be involved in helping where we can," adds MacDonald, who is also a California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) board member. "Through the CCFC, we're able to donate these lilies to raise money for a very important cause."
The GFL Lilyfest begins at 11 a.m., March 12 at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Ill. Attendees will be treated to live classical jazz and a presentation by Barbara Ekey, GFL founder, breast cancer survivor, author and inventor. Her presentation, "Breast Cancer Awareness and Action" is based on her new book, Lilies for a Breast Cancer Free Life. After the "luscious lily luncheon," participants will enjoy a lily design show given by award-wining florist, Jim Berhens AIFD.
Bidders will be able to take home beautiful arrangements of lilies through an auction with proceeds going to GROW For Life Breast Cancer Research & Education Foundation. Ekey will also be signing copies of her new book. She says she chose the lily as a way to send a message of strength, energy and love, noting that over a woman's lifetime, the chance of getting breast cancer is one in eight. During the battle with her own breast cancer, she became determined to use her experiences as an opportunity to make a difference through the establishment of GROW For Life, Breast Cancer Research and Education Foundation. "Through GFL donations," she says, “we show our caring and desire to make a difference in this crucial battle."
For more information on the Lilyfest or to reach GROW For Life call (866) 217-4767 or visit www.growforlife.org .