A Keg, Some Cups and a few friends…..well not exactly

Walla-Pa-Looza Chairman - Craig Wallace

Becoming the guy that decided to throw a party in his backyard and then turning it into a fund raising effort certainly has its ups and downs. My “need to party” has something that has been a part of my social activities since 1985. I can remember the first party I threw at my parent’s house in Eastwood Manor like it was yesterday. Word traveled pretty fast through the halls of McHenry East Campus. The next thing I know, I have a hundred or so people wandering around, drinking liquor and doing things that I am sure would have completely shocked most of us today. But, hey, we had a need to party. Those times were different. The police would come, everyone would scatter and the guy that threw the party had to clean up, repair things and plan to basically get his ass kicked. I have to tell you the truth. IT WAS COMPLETELY WORTH IT!

My “need to party” has given me the ability to meet some incredible people and that is something I will take to my grave. That is as long as “my need” does not put me their first. But, seriously, over the years, those parties have become children’s birthday parties, Fathers Day parties, baseball picnics and anniversary parties. Funny, I am still partying but maybe just a little more laid back that’s all. Socially, I love the part where I get to introduce people I know to other people I know. The interaction is very cool. As I get older I tend to think that I am the friendship match-maker. It’s me that is the common denominator. I know it’s a pretty twisted reality, but it’s true.

Walla-Pa-Looza is living proof.

The party aspect has put me in front of a lot of fun people – the Raisin’ Cash For Cancer part has given me a nice dose of “hey pay attention dummy” reality. People die from cancer. Just take a look around. It’s starting to feel like I am constantly reading about someone that has just lost a friend to cancer or has a family member that died or was recently diagnosed and has a hell of a fight on their hands all the time. I see it from my friends on Facebook, I see it in my e-mail inbox, and I see it around my community. So partying is my way of giving back. Some run relays, some play poker, others shave heads. I party. That’s what I know.

Sometimes, we get good news. Like this past week. My close friends, Nick and Traci Bionda found out that their son Zak is still cancer free. The Bionda’s are lucky; Zak was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and has been cancer free for sometime. I am so pleased to hear that Zak is continuing to do well. Those types of stories give me hope. Hope that other people I know will get that same kind of news. If not, I am still willing to party. Only instead of having a few people at mom and dads house I will continue to invite the 2,000+ people I know to celebrate with me. It’s a celebration of hope, dreams and cures.

See you on July 31st


PS – I hope the fathers and grandfathers had a great day yesterday. I know I did.


  • Thank you for the kind words my friend! We are definitely the blessed ones to have gotten so lucky with Zak. This organization was there for us in our time of need so the best thing we can do is to keep giving back to it so that others can benefit. There is so much strength in numbers through an organization like this, I can’t stress it enough “You can’t do it alone”.

    By the way I was at that party in Eastwood Manor…

    Comment by Nick — June 21, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  • Didn’t realize at the time that a great amount of your friends from those parties would later become the very ones helping Walla-Pa-Looza become the great organization it is! As is often said, we ALL are needed in this wonderful endeavor to help others. Thinking back over the years, the crazy “party-goers” were people you would never guess would be doing so very much for their family’s, their communities, and their friends. Now, don’t get me wrong, they all still “party” but for a very worthy cause – Walla-Pa-Looza. Watching our organization keep growing, I am in awe as to what we have become. Thank you Craig and friends!!!

    Comment by Susan — June 21, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  • “Some run relays, some play poker, others shave heads. I party. That’s what I know” That’s a classic line! Love it!

    You do what you do best, my friend! The world will be a better place (amazingly) by you doing so.

    Comment by Wendy — June 24, 2010 @ 8:34 am

  • [...] Officers – I have been known to break a law or two, but I am glad you serve and protect [...]

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