Harbor Buick GMC in Portage teamed up with NorthShore Health Centers on Saturday to hold their 4th Annual Quarter Paddle Auction hosted to benefit the Jim G. Carpenter Foundation. The Carpenter Foundation works to help the families of terminally ill individuals and provides scholarships to graduating seniors from Portage High School who have a family member who is battling serious health problems.
“The first time we had 75 people and now at our last count we had over 200 people here,” said Debbie Sizemore, Office Manager at Harbor Buick GMC. “This is our 4th Quarter Paddle Auction and they keep getting bigger and bigger. My grandson passed away from cancer when he was seven so this is kind of a special event for me.”
One of the founders of the Jim G. Carpenter Foundation was Jim’s daughter, Denise Carpenter, who worked with Harbor before moving to NorthShore Health Centers in 2015. NorthShore is deeply involved in the community and the fit with Harbor to benefit Carpenter’s Foundation was a natural step along the path.
“When I left Harbor and moved to NorthShore Health Centers they (Harbor) said that they’d still love to do the Quarter Paddle Auction and I thought that NorthShore would want to be involved as well because I knew that they are all about giving back to the community. So we kind of just co-sponsored the events and Harbor gives us a great space to do it in. They’ve got a great staff that helps out so much and so between everybody at NorthShore and everyone here at Harbor it’s just really turned into a great event.”
The original idea to help out the families and close friends of terminally ill patients came from Denise Carpenter’s sister, Emily, who was doing a project in college that required her to start a non-profit. That’s where the idea of providing scholarships to seniors who have a family member who is dealing with a serious medical issue came from.
“My dad was still alive and he had been struggling with lung cancer for around six years at the time and so she did the project and then all of the sudden we thought, ‘Well, we should really do this’,” said Carpenter. “So it turned into a scholarship and then basically after my dad passed away in 2013 we realized that what we needed to be doing was much larger than just scholarships.”
“That’s when it became a full-fledged foundation and our main goal is to be a support system to the community in regards to anybody that is suffering from a life altering, terminal illness. So it’s not just the person but it’s their friends, family and their caregivers because we went through it with my dad so we knew what it was like to deal with a long battle with cancer.”
“An eight year long battle with cancer is a really long time. By the end of it people sometimes forget you’re there. They don’t care as much about how you’re doing and when someone becomes bed-bound a lot of people have a hard time seeing that so you’re kind of just left in the dark. Where do you go, where do you turn? Since then we’ve bought a bunch of tablets and iPads and we’ve given them out to people who are going through chemotherapy. When someone passes away we make sure they have food and everything else they need at the funeral because that’s a really hard time for people.”
Every year the Jim G. Carpenter Foundation gives out two scholarships to graduating seniors at Portage High School who have a family member dealing with a serious medical issue.
“We give away scholarships every year and they’ve been getting bigger and bigger every year so our hope is that this year we can give out two $1000 scholarships,” said Carpenter. “We give them a cashier's check instead of a tuition credit so they can use it to cover whatever they might need when they get to school. It’s been so great to hear their stories and be able to help them out when they need it most.”
To find out more about the Jim G. Carpenter Foundation, go to: http://www.jimgcarpenterfoundation.org/