Volunteer Chronicles: Will Turner’s West Fork Whiskey Birthday

West Fork is at 1660 Bellefontaine St. in Indianapolis

Although it wasn’t meant to be a party for him, Will Turner and his wife Emily’s fundraiser for the Caroline Symmes Cancer Endowment fell square on Will’s birthday, November 29th. They chose this date because it falls just after Giving Tuesday, a time when they believed people would be more generous. The idea began when Emily’s brother opened West Fork Whiskey, an Indianapolis based distillery. In an effort to do something unique for the space, Will and Emily came up with the fundraiser. This would not only bring visibility to West Fork, it would raise awareness about our endowment’s mission to fund pediatric cancer research.

Our cause is close to Will and Emily’s heart because of their friendship with the endowment’s founders, David and Libby Symmes, and because of their own children. Their oldest is now five, the age Caroline was when she passed away. As Will explains, “We thought about it and realized throwing a fundraiser would be a wonderful and simple way to raise awareness about this endowment, which we only knew about because of meeting the Symmes in the local community.”

Will and Emily’s plan not only worked but was a smash success. What began as a small party grew into a group of nearly 75 attendees who through donations alone raised over $5,000 for the endowment. The Turners matched the first $5,000, and the distillery contributed an additional 10% of all sales during the event. Ultimately, on Will’s birthday, he rallied a generous group of people and gave us the gift of over $13,000!

“It was all out of the goodness of people’s hearts and they were really generous, just an all around nice day,” Will said of this achievement. He added, “The real goal was to get exposure for the organization, because although there are plenty of places to donate, they are one of the best.” Will hopes this will inspire others in the community to take action and support local causes they believe in, like our endowment.

We’re so humbled they chose to share their energy and resources with our cause, in an effort to protect all children everywhere from hearing that there is no further treatment for their cancer. It’s people like them that help us bridge the critical gap in research funding for orphan diseases. Thank you Will, and hey—Happy Belated Birthday!!

Leave a Reply