Earlier this Spring, legendary Wine Country restaurant John Ash & Co. had a mission to raise $100,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The charge was led by Executive Chef Tom Schmidt, who was nominated for LLS’ Man of the Year Award, which entails nominees raising $100,000 or more for the non-profit, which supports blood cancer research, patient services, and advocacy.
In Sonoma County, an average of 168 people are diagnosed annually with a type of blood cancer, which includes leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes.
Since it’s founding in the 1950s, LLS has led the fight against blood cancer. With their investment in research and patient services, survival rates have increased. For example, in 1963, those diagnosed with leukemia had only a 14% survival rate. Today, survival rates are 70% in general and over 90% for children. Schmidt lost his own sister to cancer, which drives his passion for raising these much needed funds.
“As I get older, I have learned that the time is now to make a considerable impact towards a disease that has affected me so often throughout my life.”
-Chef Tom Schmidt, John Ash & Co.
Over the course of three months, Schmidt was a man on a mission, allowing the community to support his efforts at a variety of financial levels. A tasty “Cosmo for the Cure,” was served at the Front Room at John Ash & Co., with half the proceeds going towards the cause.
A three-course dinner and auction was held, with hundreds throwing down for tickets at $150 a pop, all for the cause. Restaurant guests bought raffle tickets for a romantic dinner for two, a one night stay at the Vintners Inn, and breakfast. Guests at the Vintners Inn were also invited to donate upon check out.
In total, Schmidt raised $131,000 for LLS and was honored with the “Man of the Year” award on Saturday, June 20, at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards here in Sonoma. In total, Schmidt and the other nominees raised $250,000.
Congratulations Schmidt on his efforts and thank to all the Sonoma Valley residences who supported the cause through visits to John Ash & Co. You can still donate to Schmidt’s fundraising efforts here.