Northbrook restaurant holding fundraiser for local child
Lacey Horwitch, 9, in her "Wish Room" at her Northbrook home. The room, provided by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, was completed July 5. Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Meatheads Northbrook is located at 1036 Willow Road in Willow Festival (corner of Willow and Waukegan roads). Food service begins at 11 a.m. Thursday. Call (847) 291-6608 or visit www.meatheadsburgers.com for more information
Updated: August 20, 2012 10:55AM
NORTHBROOK — Lacey Horwitch’s half-birthday is Thursday, and the North Shore community is invited to celebrate with her.
The celebration is at Meatheads, a Northbrook Willow Festival restaurant, which will donate 10 percent of food sales Thursday to the Lacey Horwitch Rehabilitation Fund.
Lacey, a Northbrook resident who turned 9 in January, is recovering from liver failure. She was diagnosed last year with hemophagocytic lymphohistocytis and thyroid hormone resistance. She spent months at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, enduring chemotherapy that impacted 90 percent of her hearing.
Thursday’s Meatheads fundraiser launches the Lacey Special: Two hot dogs and a large order of fries with a side of dipping cheese. The Lacey Special will remain on the menu for one month.
The fundraiser isn’t the only action celebrating Lacey: She recently received a “Wish Room,” made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Completed July 5, the room includes disco ball, comfy couches, crystal bead room dividers, a flatscreen television and four pink ballet tutu duvet-covered bunk beds.
Lacey and her sisters — Maya, 11, a Northbrook Maple School sixth-grader and Jenna, 6, a Wescott School first-grader — plus their mother Laura, a child psychotherapist, plan to enjoy dreamy sleepovers there.
“She wanted a girly-girl hang-out room,” said Laura (Pekay) Horwitch, a 1990 Glenbrook South High School graduate.
Maya said he sister’s reaction upon first seeing her room was a huge smile.
“It was the biggest smile I have ever seen,” she said. “She (Lacey) picked the purple walls, make-up and mirrors.”
Jenna described it as “the most roomy room” in the house. “I just like to relax in this room.”
One must travel a winding hallway to get the “Wish Room” where a Wall of Fame features autographed Katy Perry and Selena Gomez photos, plus Lacey’s lengthy Beads of Courage.
“There are a lot of bumpy beads which mean hard days (of bumpy recovery),” Laura Horwitch explained, her gesture similar to the handling of prayer beads.
“Here’s her birthday,” she said, stroking more beads.
The red heart beads represent surges, while another bed represents the tooth fairy from when Lacey lost a tooth. She has lost three teeth during hospital stays.
“Since August of last year,” said Laura, “she (Lacey) has slept 200 days in a hospital and hopefully, it’s just 200.”
Lacey came home July 13 after more time in the intensive care unit. Now, the Northbrook DancEd performer in Lacey happily moves about in her “Wish Room.”
Each day she’s home, Lacey requests what has become the Lacey Special. Friends volunteer to drive to Meatheads and employees hand-deliver curbside.
The Meatheads half-birthday fundraiser was perfect timing.
“They should give her half a birthday cake,” joked Maya, who won’t be at the party since she left Sunday for camp.
Thus, the July 14 Saturday family night-in was important to David Horwitch, a Chicago attorney.
“As a parent,” said David, “seeing our children when we get home from work is a great part of our day.
“Because of all that Lacey’s been through this past year, when I come home from work and see her smiling and telling me about her day, I cherish it and realize how lucky I am to have her in my life,” he said.
Lacey’s father made a wish in the “Wish Room.”
“Since she’s around 200 days post-transplant, her prognosis remains good,” he said. “She was hospitalized last month with a lung issue due to the transplant but the doctors are confident they can control it with medication going forward.”
On Dec. 29, after numerous bone marrow drives which drew astounding numbers of newly-registered hopeful donors from throughout the Midwest, Lacey’s father gave his daughter a 50 percent bone marrow match when no perfect match was found.
For that, he is grateful for support.
“It’s wonderful that Meatheads has taken the opportunity to honor Lacey with the Lacey Special on their menu,” he said.