Christopher Quon started a charity soccer tournament to benefit cancer victims when he was in college. After his sudden passing, his parents and our community continue his legacy through a foundation that carries his name.
gust 18 marks the return of the annual Lake Forest High School alumni game, and for the third year in a row, proceeds from the game are being donated to the Christopher Quon Foundation. The foundation is named for a varsity soccer and lacrosse alum from Lake Forest High School who suddenly lost his life to heart failure at age 22 in 2009.
“That time is a blur for me,” says his mother, Diane Quon, of the months following Chris’ death. “It was some of our friends who said, ‘Why don’t we start a foundation for him?’ Really, I just don’t remember anything. It took our family three or four months before we really started to see what it was and what it could do.”
The Christopher Quon Foundation raises funds for dispersal to causes that were either near and dear to Chris personally or that help those who share his passions. The first of those causes is the ongoing fight to find a cure for cancer, which meant so much to Chris because of his two grandfathers who he saw live with the disease. When he was a freshman at Colorado College, he and his lacrosse teammates demonstrated their support for children fighting cancer by collecting sponsors and shaving their heads for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Then, when he was a junior and senior in college, Chris organized a soccer tournament called Answer to Cancer, from which all the proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. After Chris passed, the soccer team at Colorado College has carried on this charitable tradition, and though the tournament still benefits the American Cancer Society, it now goes by the name the Quony Cup. “I think a lot of times when we see young people, we shake our head, frustrated with this or that, but I’ve just been so impressed with how much they’re willing to give back,” says Diane. “It gives me a lot of hope. Like with the Quony Cup, [the students at Colorado College] really plan everything. They don’t have to do that. And all the kids that knew Chris have graduated out now. It’s amazing to me that they would continue to do that.”
The foundation also benefits youth sports in the area. 847 Hoops Basketball is a not-for-profit camp that operates under the motto of “Making good decisions on and off the court.” This weeklong camp brings together seventh and eighth graders from Lake Forest, Gurnee, North Chicago, Waukegan, and Zion to learn great basketball techniques from high-level coaches for free and to give kids from different backgrounds a common ground with which to connect to each other. The First Tee of Greater Chicago is a similar program with golf at its epicenter. They work to bring kids together with educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices. Money from the Christopher Quon Foundation goes to First Tee’s outreach program, sponsoring clinics for kids from high-poverty areas and camps for kids with disabilities. They also contribute to the Illinois Youth Soccer Association’s Soccer for Success Program, a natural choice, considering Chris’ dedication to the game of soccer and his participation in the Illinois Youth Soccer Association’s Olympic Development Program while he was growing up.
In that same spirit, the foundation gives scholarships to one student from Lake Forest High School who’s going on to play soccer or lacrosse in college and one student at Colorado College who’s practicing either sport.
Finally, they contribute to a number of area programs that aim to better the lives of disadvantaged children through non-sports-related means, such as Mothers Trust, Camp Hope the Church of St. Mary in Lake Forest, Warming Hearts & Hands, and the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County.
Chris only had the opportunity to play in one LFHS alumni game, the month before he passed. But now with the proceeds from the food sales, auction, and raffle at the game filtering into these
worthy causes through his memorial foundation, our community continues Chris’ legacy of unreservedly pursuing your passions and using them to reach out and help people.
“For us as a family, we will never forget how much the community supported us,” says Diane. “Through this game, we see it even more. We’ve just been overwhelmed with the support, and we’re so thankful to everyone here in the community. I’d just like to let everyone know how much it means to us.”