GENEVA – Paul Ruby’s sixth annual Concert for a Cure has taken on a life of its own as more volunteers are ready, willing and able to raise money to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
Dawn Vogelsberg, 3rd Ward Alderman in Geneva and president of the Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, said the charity has been the recipient of many efforts to raise money.
Among the groups that have collected funds for the cause is Geneva Boy Scout Troop 37 – 17 members and adults made a 750-mile bike trip to Niagara Falls and raised nearly $6,000, Vogelsberg said.
In addition, the Sub-5 Century Challenge, a 100-mile bike ride in five hours scheduled for Sept. 9, has already raised nearly $40,000, she said.
“We’re getting funds from different places this year, which is great,” Vogelsberg said. “Our fundraising goal is $100,000, and we are walking into the concert with $50,000 in the bank already. You can fund an excellent project with $100,000.”
The foundation has already received several applications for grant money. The board will go to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in October to hear proposals, Vogelsberg said.
Ruby, the general manager of the Herrington Inn and Spa in Geneva, has perhaps become the most famous local person with Parkinson’s disease. He was diagnosed in 2006 at age 42. The progressive neurodegenerative disorder is characterized by tremors and is more common among those 60 and older.
Ruby started the Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to kick-start work for a cure. Its signature fundraiser will start at 2 p.m. Saturday at Tanna Farms, 39W808 Hughes Road, Blackberry Township. Vogelsberg said about 1,000 to 1,200 people are expected to go to the all-day, family-friendly event, which includes food, beverages, silent auction items and children’s activities.
“These kids are getting the word out about Parkinson’s faster than any of us could,” Vogelsberg said.
Among the youth effort is the band Fargo, made up of Geneva teens.
A local phenomenon, Fargo’s members started playing in February and won a battle of the bands competition during Swedish Days. Fargo is scheduled to play with other acts at Concert for a Cure, including Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts.
Fargo band members are Brandon Cantwell, 17, a senior at Geneva High School, and Ryan Thomas, Robert Donile and David Del Giudice, all 18 and graduates.
“We started up in the fall of 2011,” Cantwell said. “We did not know each other, but we had a class together and started talking and we played music. We did not really form the band Fargo and start playing until February.”
During Swedish Days, Fargo was one of eight groups competing. Since then, Fargo has performed live at clubs such as The House Cafe in DeKalb and Chord on Blues in St. Charles.
And while it is gratifying for Fargo to be included in the Concert for a Cure lineup, Cantwell is no stranger to the cause.
“I’ve been working with the Paul Ruby Foundation since the first event when it was a golf outing and a concert,” Cantwell said. “I caddied for the golf outings.”
Cantwell said he did not know Ruby, but his family has been good friends with the Vogelsbergs.
Ruby is touched by the support from an ever-increasing circle of helpers and volunteers.
“Each year, the concert gets bigger, and the positive energy from the crowd creates a lot of optimism that we are not only spreading awareness about Parkinson’s but getting a step closer to finding a cure,” Ruby said in an email. “Although the concert is a blast, I look forward to the day when it becomes obsolete and we can move on to a different cause.”