Spotlight: Party with a purpose

At the beginning of every year, Kathryn Igou paints her nails St. Patrick’s Day green. It’s not a fashion statement—it’s her way of helping spread the word about ShamRockin’ for a Cure fundraiser and party.

“The nails are a conversation starter, even in the grocery store,” Igou jokes. But she’s serious about the hard work that ShamRockin’ workers have done in the last decade to fight Cystic Fibrosis, a rare, genetic, life-shortening disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up inside the body’s airways, affecting organs such as the lungs, liver and pancreas.

ShamRockin’ for a Cure, a St. Patrick’s Day party held this month at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, includes an ‘80s tribute band, food and drink from nearly 30 Northside restaurants, and live and silent auctions. A trip to South Africa’s Zulu Nyala Game Reserve is a part of this year’s bidding.

Pam Baker, whose husband Jon is event chair, calls the event “Sham-Magical.” Their two sons were diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis as children: Gavin at age 2 ½ and Jake while Baker was six months pregnant with him.

“The $2-million we’ve raised is to buy science to kill this disease,” Pam says.

ShamRockin’ began with a breakfast meeting among friends to brainstorm ways of helping “the Baker boys.” The group decided that since they liked to dance and have a good time, they could throw a great party for adults ages 18 and older.

That first year in 2008, ShamRockin’ drew 150 attendees raising approximately $10,000. Since then, ShamRockin’ has hosted thousands of attendees and become an official fund-raiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Fundraising supports advances that have a direct impact on people battling the disease. A drug developed just a few years ago is helping the Baker boys today.

Jon Baker says Shamrockin’ is more than a party. “And it’s even more than raising money and awareness,” he says. “ShamRockin’ is hope.”

ShamRockin’ for a Cure. 7 p.m., March 24. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 404-325-6973.

Peggy Shaw

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