popYOUlarity:First of all, can you talk a bit about the Dorough-Lupus foundation?
Howie:The foundation was actually created back in 1998, after my sister Caroline had passed away from Lupus, a disease that affected her life for thirteen years. Unfortunately, it took her from us. Instead of taking a negative thing and dwelling on it, we tried to turn it into a positive thing, by creating a family foundation, in memory of her. We are really trying to go out there and promote the disease, as it does not have the proper attention that it should, with the number of people who actually have the disease, which is higher than AIDS. There are just so many diseases out there that have so much more attention than this one does, and it is a shame. I am trying to use my “celebrity status” to try to create as much awareness of the disease to hopefully educate people, and to hopefully make money through the fundraisers that we do to give towards research. Hopefully we will soon be able to find a cure so that other people do not have to go through the same loss that I went through.
popYOUlarity:What do you want to accomplish with the foundation by the end of the year? Do you have a specific fund raising target that you want to raise?
Howie:We always try to raise as much as we can. I don’t have a set number. Right now we have raise over half a million dollars. It would be great if we were at almost a million dollars by the end of the year. We’re trying to organize different fundraisers throughout the year to try to drum up as much money for research. For me, the biggest thing is to promote the awareness of the disease. You know, it is a shame how many people out there have it, and it is such a hush-hush thing. I am just trying to give it the proper attention that it should have.
popYOUlarity:What would you say as a whole, since the foundation was started, what would you say your biggest accomplishment is? What are you most proud of?
Howie:I would say probably just raising what we have so far, and being able to give that money to research. We have given the majority of the money to a research center in California. I try to do as much fund raising as possible. The biggest thing is when I get amazing comments from people that say that before they met me they either had a family member that had it, or they did not even know about the disease, but now that I have talked about it, it has brought a lot more attention to the disease. It feels good being able to talk about it.
popYOUlarity:Can you talk about the upcoming events?
Howie:I am very excited to be coming to Whistler, April 23rd through the 29th. We are doing a weekend fundraiser there. Snow skiing, snowboarding— a whatever you do in the snow event. We’re going to be coming out there, having a dinner with some people that come to the event, have a hot chocolate party, an auction. I am going to be DJ’ing one night. There is a chance for people in the auction to go on a snow mobile ride with us when we go have dinner. There is going to be a lot of fun, cool stuff. I am very excited putting it together and I am very excited to be coming up there.
After that, we are going to be putting on different events through the year in the US, as well as in Canada. People can find out more information about that by going onto our website at doroughlupusfoundation.org, or by dlscanada.com
popYOUlarity:Is there anything else that you would like to share with the world about the foundation, that people may not know?
Howie:For people that are interested in helping, or making donations, or helping our foundation with putting together events– whatever it may be, visit our website. I am very, very excited about coming back to Canada again. A couple years ago, we used some of the money we raised to fund a Palliative Care clinic in Chatham, ON, Canada, so I am very proud to be able to give back the money to Canada. I just want to let people know that it does not have to be a hush-hush disease any more and we can definitely help make a difference together.
popYOUlarity:Have you ever considered putting on something like a 10K run for a fundraiser?
Howie:We have not personally done anything like that ourselves, but there have been some events that have been put on and the donation proceeds have gone to the foundation. Though we have not put on one personally, we definitely endorse and promote them. We normally every year do the annual cruise, and a charity concert. Then, from year to year it kind of varies whether we do a golf tournament, ice skating etc. This year we are doing the snow event in Whistler, which I hope to turn into an annual event as well.
Photo: Official Photo