It was an average work day for Paul Ruby when he received a cold call from a business coach named Rene Boer who wanted to help him improve his business as the general manager of the Herrington Inn and Spa in Geneva.
Little did he know that a routine business meeting would lead to a friendship.
If you goWhat: Paul Ruby Foundation Concert for a Cure, featuring the Steve Augeri Band (former lead singer of Journey), Noah's Arcade and Fargo
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2
Where: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles
Admission: Ticket prices start at $29
Details: www.paulrubyfoundation.org; www.oshows.com
But this story is not unique. After six years, Ruby has made many friends in the community through one-time meetings that led to their work commitment to the Paul Ruby Foundation, a charity that raises awareness and funds to find a cure for Parkinson's disease.
"It's been a great group of people from all different connections that have gotten involved … none would have become friends if not for the organization; people kinda clicked," said Ruby, a resident of Mill Creek in Geneva.
Ruby started the foundation in 2007 shortly after he was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's disease. After former President George W. Bush cut funds for stem cell research, Ruby's then 10-year-old son wrote a letter asking why funding had been cut. He ended the letter saying, "Mr. President, all I want to do is to be able to play catch with my dad again."
Out of tragedy, Ruby created the foundation to promote awareness and raise funds for research.
"He didn't want to sit back and let life take over -- he's a bigger picture person," said Paul Lindenmeyer, the event coordinator for the upcoming Concert for a Cure to raise funds for the foundation.
In years past, the annual outdoor concert caused a great deal of stress because the threat of rain could cause an immense loss of money. So, this year, they're moving it to an inside venue.
The concert starts at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St. in St. Charles.
The evening kicks off with local band Fargo playing indie rock, followed by Noah's Arcade playing Americana rock. The headliner is the Steve Augeri Band. Augeri, the former lead singer of Journey, will play some of Journey's famous hits.
The Arcada Theatre donated the building and staff for the evening, so 100 percent of ticket proceeds will go back into the foundation.
Events like the concert have helped the foundation raise more than $600,000 to fund grants for some of the top doctors and researchers who apply directly through the board of directors, said Ruby. So they control where the money goes.
Ruby said he is humbled by the outpouring of community support.
From kids who knew Ruby through baseball and their parents, to community members who just heard about the organization and wanted to get involved in the grass-roots effort, the foundation has succeeded in connecting people from all backgrounds, said Dawn Vogelsberg, the executive director of the foundation.
"The reason he brings such dedicated volunteers is because of his attitude," the Geneva alderman said. "I've learned to be a more positive person from him."
Vogelsberg said she was inspired by Ruby's vision.
"He told me, 'It could be our dollar that we raise that cures it,'" she said.
While short-term goals emphasize fundraising and awareness, the long-term goal is somewhat opposite.
Ultimately, she said, "Our goal is to find that cure and close down the foundation."