Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The GEANCO Foundation Hosts Second Annual Health and Hope for Africa Concert Gala

John McGoldrick, Global Hero Awardee and Afam Onyema, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of the GEANCO Foundation, at the organization's Health and Hope for Africa Concert Gala in Chicago.

By Sandra C. Davis, Chicago Contributor

CHICAGO, IL - On Saturday, November 10, 2012, the GEANCO Foundation celebrated its second annual Health and Hope for Africa Concert Gala at the Museum of Science and Industry raising over  $75,000 to improve healthcare and medical access in Africa.  Dr. Godwin Onyema, MD, co-founder and CEO, and his family founded the GEANCO Foundation to address the needs of the poor and vulnerable women and children in the African country of Nigeria, Dr. Onyema’s home country.  NFL Hall of Famer, MVP of Super Bowl XX and Chicago Bears legend Richard Dent served as Gala Chair.

The night’s festivities began with a Patron Reception cocktail hour supported by community partners such as Aon Hewitt, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Zimmer Holdings, United Airlines, Hotel Lincoln, Neuro Drink, and Schiff Hardin LLP.  GEANCO Director and gala organizer, Nche Onyema, began the evening by welcoming guests.  After a sumptuous dinner featuring curried pumpkin soup and caramelized Cornish hen, a “Health and Hope for Africa Lab Kit” was served, a creative dessert made especially for the evening comprised of a petite lava cake, a mini amarula milk shake and guava glazed doughnut holes rolled in coconut.

Guests then moved to the auditorium for the awards presentation, where each member of the Onyema family gave first-hand accounts of the lack of healthcare, medical access and its devastating effects on Nigerian people.  They also shared their hope to build the Augustine Memorial Hospital, the country’s first world-class hospital in memory of Dr. Onyema’s father and the hospital’s namesake.

The Onyema Family:  Veronica Onyema, Gozie Onyema (GEANCO Director), Nche Onyema (GEANCO Director and Gala Organizer), Ebele Onyema (GEANCO Director), Josephine Onyema (Mrs. Godwin Onyema) , Afam Onyema (Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer), and Dr. Godwin Onyema, MD (Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer)

Ayodele Dance Group Performer

Global health crusader John McGoldrick was presented with the GEANCO Global Hero Award in recognition of a decades-long commitment to saving and improving lives in Africa.  Other noble guests included Chris Amenechi, Vice President, E-Commerce and Merchandising at United Airlines; Audrey Beckmann, Senior Vice President at Zimmer Institute; Lee England Jr., Virtuoso Violinist and member of The Jordan Band; Dr. Marcus Lehman, contestant on Survivor: Gabon; and Andrew Stroth, President of Impact Talent Associates.

The all female African Dance Group, Ayodele and the virtuoso violinist, Lee England Jr. closed the Health and Hope for Africa Gala with a musical celebration of African heritage.

Robert Scales, Johnnie Scales, Ernestine Durham and Thomas Durham

The Onyema Family with Richard Dent, Gala Chair (center)

Dr. Marcus Lehman, Nche Onyema, Ebele Onyema and Michael Green, GEANCO Treasurer

About The GEANCO Foundation
The GEANCO Foundation ( is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization founded in 2005 by Dr. Godwin Onyema and his family.  GEANCO’s mission is to save and improve lives of the poor and vulnerable in Africa.  Read more highlights from the gala at Social Life Chicago here.

Photo credit: Tim Hiatt

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