Coming Together to Support Cancer Research

Family-owned West Side company Roscoe raises funds to support Rush
Roscoe team members showcase a novelty check representing a gift to RUSH Cancer Center after a monthlong fundraiser and matching contribution from President Jim Buik.

Team members and ownership at Roscoe, a West Side business, recently raised and donated more than $5,000 to the Rush Cancer Center.

“We at Rush are honored and grateful to receive this support for cancer research from Roscoe,” said Helen J. Ross, MD, director of research and clinical trials, Rush Cancer Center. “Our local community and our patients are key partners in our quest to improve and lengthen the lives of patients with cancer. This donation will contribute meaningfully to that effort.”

Roscoe, a uniform rental company founded in 1921, supports the Chicago area in a variety of ways. But this marked the first time the company has raised awareness and funds for cancer care and research. Roscoe didn’t have to look more than a few miles east down Harrison Street to find the perfect partner.

“We chose to donate to Rush not only because of its close proximity but also its credibility and reputation for outstanding patient care, research and community partnerships,” said Brittany Robinson, an executive assistant for Roscoe.

Roscoe seeks to support organizations and charities in the surrounding community.

“Most of our team members have lived here their entire lives, and now they’re raising families here,” Robinson said. “It’s important for us to give back and support local charities and organizations.”

Roscoe has also tapped into causes that are important to team members and their families. That is why cancer care became the focus of its recent fundraising campaign.

“We felt that it was important to highlight and raise awareness of cancer specifically because it has impacted our Roscoe family personally,” Robinson said. ”We wanted to emphasize being aware of the signs of cancer, how it impacts our community and what our team can do to make a difference.”

Throughout October, Roscoe held activities to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

Hot food sales during break periods were at the center of those efforts — with hot dogs, nachos and pizza among the favorites. Barbara Polk, Roscoe’s office team leader, and Patricia Lau, an accounts receivable and collection specialist, were two of the fundraiser’s organizers. They knew from the start the hot food sales would be a hit.

Barb and Tricia, Roscoe team members, participate in one of several “Pink Fridays," wearing pink attire while serving hot lunches .

“Hot food sales were the first idea that came to mind to raise money,” Lau said. “Food is often what brings people together, which was one of our goals in this mission.”

Polk added, “Our team members looked forward to the hot food sales every day we offered them. I enjoyed seeing their smiling faces and reminding them that all donations went toward furthering cancer research.”

Cash was collected, but Roscoe also worked with Rush to set up an online portal for donations. That meant team members could share their efforts with family, friends and customers via social media. Team members collected $2,570 through their efforts, and Roscoe President Jim Buik wrote a check matching those funds to double the gift.

“This was for a great cause,” said Elba Amezcua, Roscoe human resources team leader. “Not only did we support a local organization and help cancer research, but the fundraiser also helped pull us closer together, as this was a company-wide effort.”

Roscoe also raised cancer awareness by holding “Pink Fridays,” dress-down days featuring pink attire and ribbons to put a spotlight on breast cancer throughout October. Roscoe dedicated a bulletin board to cancer awareness, including where to find local and affordable resources and events. And a company T-shirt reading “Roscoe Supports Cancer Awareness” featured a lavender ribbon to support those with any form of cancer.

Roscoe has 75 team members, and Robinson said “pretty much everybody supported the campaign — if not monetarily then by taking part in the educational opportunities and spreading the word.”

“It wasn’t just about raising money; it was about us coming together as a team to support one cause,” Robinson said.

They hope the work they did will make an impact on cancer care. But Roscoe is also hoping more businesses and organizations follow suit by rallying their team members to contribute to the community.

“We hope to inspire others to do the same thing,” Robinson said. “Giving back and supporting the Chicago community is a core value of Roscoe’s culture.”

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