Family's Volunteer Success Gives Hope 2

Save the Date, march 12, 2016 for ShamRockin’ For the Cure

When the Bakers, Jon and Pam, were thrown a curveball in 2006, they rose to the occasion. The oldest son, Gavin (now 16), was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in March 2006, and two weeks later their son Jake (now 13) was diagnosed amniocentesis. After the initial shock of the diagnosis, the Bakers got on their fighting gloves and started raising money. From the Great Strides Walk, which the couple fundraised for just months after being diagnosed, they expanded fundraising efforts to host wine tastings, New Year’s Eve parties and black tie events.

In 2009, Chris and Mary Guiney, close family friends of the Bakers, wanted to do more for the Bakers. They stepped in to amp up fundraising efforts. The Guineys didn’t ‘walk’ and hated black tie events, but they were Irish and loved to drink. They suggested a St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser for cystic fibrosis, and Shamrockin’ for a Cure kicked off its inaugural event in 2009. Over the past eight years, the event has grown drastically from 150 of the Bakers’ friends at the first event to more than 1,500 at the 2015 event. The committee has tripled, and each year hopes to throw another surprise at the crowd. The Bakers’ story has expanded beyond Atlanta with hopes to grow in cities like Chicago and Louisville.

The millions of dollars raised over the years at Shamrockin’ for a Cure go directly to fund research at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Metro Atlanta is fortunate to have three of only 110 accredited Cystic Fibrosis Centers in the United States.

“Our goal for Shamrockin’ for a Cure is to create an environment where people can have fun and tell a story about hope,” says Jon Baker. “We’ve captured the hearts of doers, and every year someone new comes to make an impact on the fundraiser.”

The Baker family has lived in Roswell for 13 years, with Gavin, Jake and their two other children, Sabrina (10) and Duncan (6). The ultimate goal for the Bakers is to to raise $1 million in a single evening. While a lofty goal, it is doable.

“The biggest impact Shamrockin’ had on us was hope,” says Baker. “When we started our cause, we drew attention nationwide. The only way to find a cure for cystic fibrosis is through research. Research right now is winning and we have to keep fueling it with fundraisers like this one.”

At the 2016 event, the party again takes place center stage at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. Lara Dolan, the food and beverage chair of the event, says more than 25 restaurants including Olde Blind Dog Pub, Ceviche, Roswell Tap and Roux on Canton are expected to attend. Tickets to the event include food along with top shelf liquor and live band entertainment throughout the night.

“Shamrockin for a Cure may have stemmed from the Bakers, but through that family, our eyes have been opened to other families who have been affected fighting for their own kids and the community cystic fibrosis,” says Dolan.