JAB Produce’s ‘Rory Day’ continues to help foundation grow
Steve Serck says the day of Rory’s funeral was the saddest of his life. “We all hear about people who have experienced difficult tragedies, but for my family and friends Rory’s death was really the first one in our lives,” he says. “Knowing how devastating it was for us as friends of Ross and Mindy, it is more than unbelievable what they have done through The Rory David Deutsch Foundation in the last ten years. That’s what makes this charity so meaningful and heartfelt, their drive and their ability to bring people together to try to prevent this from happening to other families.”
Steve’s oldest son was a friend and classmate of Rory’s. “At the time, he was too young to understand just how much Rory went through,” Steve says. “Being involved in the activities of The Foundation has helped all of my kids understand how fortunate they are and how precious life is.”
As a member of The Foundation’s Board of Directors, Steve has always played quite an active role in The Foundation. For the last five years his company has designated a percentage of its receipts from one of its most profitable days to The Foundation. The company, JAB Produce, sells fresh produce to grocers throughout the Chicago area. This year’s “Rory Day,” as it has been dubbed, was held on June 30th, the Wednesday before the July 4th weekend. “This is the week that our biggest orders come through,” Steve explains. The June 30th orders added up to a generous contribution of five percent of its sales, or $6,000, to The Foundation.
Having accompanied Ross on trips to The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, where The Foundation directs a portion of its funding, Steve recognizes the complexities of the cancer research being conducted there. “We know how important the funding is to these researchers, and how much more is needed to increase pediatric cancer research in other institutions,” he says. “The researchers themselves are burdened by having to spend time seeking out funding, time that could be spent conducting further research. So it is a tough battle on different levels, but progress is being made and we have to keep doing what we can to support the process.”
For Steve, that means continuing his annual “Rory Day” at JAB and promoting awareness and involvement through The Foundation. “It’s a collective effort that continues to grow in size and strength,” he says. “For Rory and for kids like Rory, the fight against this disease won’t end until a cure is found.”