PartyLite Staffer’s Family Fulfills Dad’s $1 Million Commitment to Support Cancer Patients
Over the years, PartyLite Consultants, Leaders, Customers and Home Office staff have raised and donated nearly $15 million to the American Cancer Society for its fight against cancer. One long-time PartyLite employee holds this commitment very close to her heart.
Joyce Fowler, a Senior Account Associate in Business Operations, recently attended a ceremony with family and friends at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Center in Boston where a suite has been named after her parents. It was the culmination of a fundraising push that was started more than 40 years ago by her father, Lawrence Tangvik.
When Joyce’s mother, Eileen, passed away from cancer in 1970, Lawrence started a fund in honor of his late wife. Over the years, he collected donations from everyone he could reach out to, creating a mailing list to keep in contact with those who contributed to patient needs, which included items such as wigs and prostheses. When the fund reached $500,000, he decided on a goal to raise $1 million by 2000.
“He wanted the money to go to patients,” says Joyce, adding that her father’s efforts helped thousands of patients over the years.
In 1999, Lawrence passed away from cancer after leading a campaign that raised approximately $800,000. But the cause didn’t end there. His children, Joyce, Laurene, Beverly and Ken, stepped up with the help of family and friends to carry on their father’s mission, with a more recent focus on funds supporting the Hope Lodge Center in Boston.
“After he passed, we continued because it was the right thing to do,” Joyce recalls.
Although it was an easy decision to keep the drive going, it took some time to find a rhythm and reach the ultimate target.
“We would often think, ‘How can we reach the goal?’” Joyce says.
Then a great idea came about from a “polar plunge” that Joyce’s brother participated in. The siblings decided to organize a similar fundraising event in 2014, reaching out to previous contributors and friends through a personal letter and social media about their planned “plunge” at Humarock Beach in Scituate, Massachusetts, south of Boston.
On what would have been mom Eileen’s 93rd birthday, Nov. 29, 2014, a committed group consisting of young kids to those in their 80s jumped into the frigid Atlantic Ocean for this great cause. The event raised $45,000, the final amount needed to reach the $1 million mark, says Joyce, who jokes that the water was a little too cold for her that day.
“I watched and cheered them on,” Joyce remembers. “It was a really fun day.”
When staff at the American Cancer Society learned about the accomplishment, they surprised the family by dedicating a guest suite at the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge Center in memory of Eileen and Lawrence. Family members and friends turned out for the emotional ceremony in Boston to see the plaque unveiled.
“We just couldn’t believe it. All of us were overjoyed,” Joyce says.
Since opening in November 2008, the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge Center in Boston has provided a home away from home for guests in active outpatient cancer treatment. It has helped over 2,300 guests from 48 states and 15 countries by providing more than 76,000 nights of free lodging and saving them over $13.9 million, or more than $6,000 per guest.
During the family’s personal campaign, Joyce, who has been a member of the PartyLite Home Office staff for 17 years, has also participated in other events supporting the American Cancer Society, including Relay For Life, as well as additional PartyLite fundraisers such as sales and “casual weeks.” These are just a couple of the initiatives contributing to the annual check presented by PartyLite to the American Cancer Society. The total presented for the 2014-2015 giving year was more than $300,000.
“I’m very impressed with the long-lasting commitment from PartyLite,” Joyce says. “It’s nice working for a company that realizes how important this is.”
Everyone can continue the fight against cancer. In coming months, PartyLite Regional Ambassadors, Leaders, Consultants and staff will be invited to volunteer at one of the 31 Hope Lodges across the United States. Please watch for details.