The joint CEO husband-and-wife team of Dirk and Shelley Wald of WAC Lighting has been selected to receive the 2023 Rick Wiedemer Guiding Light Award for their long-standing support of The H Foundation. The award will be given on July 22 at the annual Goombay Bash, the festive fundraiser held at the Grand Ballroom on Chicago’s Navy Pier that benefits cancer research at Northwestern University’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Since its founding in 2001 by Hortons Home Lighting and other LaGrange, Ill.-based businesses, The H Foundation and the Goombay Bash have been celebrated and supported by a sense of community. This grassroots spirit has underscored the message that “Cancer Is Personal,” affecting real people — families, friends, neighbors, partners, and patrons. As the event has grown, this definition of community has broadened from LaGrange and Chicagoland to all of Illinois and beyond, driven by the individuals and businesses with direct connections in our day-to-day lives.
In 2017, The H Foundation created an opportunity to celebrate one community for its unwavering and continued support. The lighting industry inspired the creation of the Guiding Light Award, which specifically honors companies and individuals in the lighting community for their consistent and enduring efforts support The H Foundation’s mission to fund basic science research and find a cure for cancer. WAC Lighting, as a company, was presented with the inaugural award, along with Generation Lighting, Hinkley, Kichler, Quoizel, and Satco. Subsequent recipients include Lighting One President Gregg Garofalo and Hubbardton Forge CEO Maria Mullen.
In 2022, the award was given posthumously to the former Hinkley CEO Rick Wiedemer, for whom the award is named. The Rick Wiedemer Guiding Light Award is given annually to an individual or company who exemplifies the leadership qualities that will guide others towards a brighter future in which no one will suffer the hardships of this horrible disease that affects one in three people. It celebrates the community spirit that has used ingenuity to shine a spotlight on, and raise money for, basic science cancer research. The lighting industry is responsible for approximately 30 to 40 percent of the $11+ million that has been raised by The H Foundation to date, and many members of the lighting industry serve as volunteers and cheerleaders for the cause.
“Even before they met, Dirk and Shelley Wald have been supporters from the very beginning of The H Foundation and the Goombay Bash, said John Rot, President of The H Foundation. “Like everyone else, they also have a personal connection to cancer and cancer research. Years later, the Wald family continues to support The H Foundation annually through the Goombay Bash and through advocacy within the lighting industry and beyond to garner support for basic science cancer research.”
Tickets are now available to attend the July 22 Goombay Bash, which has a casual Caribbean theme where tropical prints and comfortable attire are encouraged. Tickets are $175, or $300 for VIP seating, and can be purchased here. Donations of cash or items and services for auction are also accepted, and there are multiple levels of sponsorship opportunities available.