Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Never Had a Bad Day Foundation - 365 Days of 365 Smiles | Arthur Holmer

Most people, when given the choice, will try to do good in their lives. If you’re walking down the street and someone stumbles in front of you, I like to think that virtually everyone would lend that fellow a hand.

I’ve often wondered how an act of caring affects those who have witnessed a good deed. Much like the Liberty Mutual “Pay if Forward” commercial, does a kind word or small gesture somehow transfer and expand to those around us?

My friend, Erik Baylis, is a multiplier.  He’s one of those who can embrace small acts of kindness towards him with waves of good will towards others.  Though Erik is reluctant to share his back story, the loving husband, father and business leader he is today is the product not only to his indomitable spirit and hard work, but also the kindness shown to him by others.

Erik’s booming voice and physical presence sometimes hides a spiritual side that’s perfectly represented in his catch phrase, “I’ve never had a bad day!”

In 1994, while visiting a family member in hospice, Erik met an elderly man in a wheel chair whose spirit and outlook resonated deeply with him. Greeting the gentleman, who was nearing the end of his life, Erik matter-of-factly asked, “Hello sir, how are you doing?”  Expecting a similarly perfunctory reply, the man energetically responded, “I have never had a bad day in my life!” The effusiveness of the response took Erik surprise and he asked reflexively how that could be. The gentleman’s response was simple - maintaining a positive outlook will shape how you perceive life’s situations, even the most difficult ones.

Several years later, upon learning that he had been afflicted by a form of throat cancer, Erik was prepared to face this personal challenge surrounded by those he loved and a deep, positive spirit.  Erik was the embodiment and spirit of, “Never had a bad day!”

Through the grace of God and the skilled, caring hands of doctors at Northwestern, Erik has fully recovered from his bout with cancer. Never one to let a good deed end with him, Erik worked over several years on a plan to start a foundation that might help other cancer patients find support and a smile as they journeyed through treatments and challenges.

Erik had had a dream of building a charitable foundation and collectively we did just that. I’m privileged to have played an integral role in creating the Never Had a Bad Day Foundation.

The Never Had a Bad Day Foundation (NHBD) was founded last year with the purpose of
spreading 365 Days of 365 Smiles to pediatric cancer patients and their families in the greater Chicago area. We believe in the power of an optimistic attitude, and sharing the philosophy that where there is life, there’s the opportunity to have a great day.

Arthur Holmer & Robin Holmer at an NHBD Fundraiser in 2016

The NHBD goal is to inspire more reasons for children and their supporting families to smile. Our donations are directed at relieving the financial, material and emotional strains on a family, allowing them to focus on the treatment of the child.

The foundation works with local hospitals to connect with families who may benefit from a smile and a bit of help. Our goal is to touch 365 individuals and families each year through small gifts that include hospital parking fees, gasoline gift cards, a supply of groceries, and more! With one less thing to worry about, we hope to give families more reasons to smile. Each year we will continue furthering our mission to encourage positivity so others can say they have never had a bad day.

Of course, a foundation like Never Had a Bad Day survives and thrives on the donations of time, expertise and money from giving souls who support our endeavors.  Next month we are having our first official event, which will be a casino night held at The Lakewood on July 29th. There will be an open bar, plenty of food, and live entertainment. Lou Canellis from Fox 32 sports will be the host and guest speaker for the event.  If you are able to join us, please purchase your tickets here. If you are unable to attend but would like to donate, we have an open donation option on our ticket site.

Please visit our NHBD Website to learn more about the charity. You can follow our social media accounts to keep up with the progress from the onset of our newly formed foundation.