In Their Own Words: Eric Best
The V Foundation for Cancer Research is successful thanks to the contributions of many – donors, corporate partners, our incredible Board and Scientific Advisory Committee and the amazing researchers to whom we award grants. With “In Their Own Words,” we sit down with key members of our team to learn more about their commitment to the V Foundation and their personal desire to put an end to cancer. In this edition, we chat with Eric Best, General Manager of Bob Hall, LLC. Eric and his team at Bob Hall participate in the Constellation Brands’ “Your Corona Helps Make a Difference” campaign each March.
The V Foundation: How has cancer affected you personally?
Eric Best: It’s had a huge effect on me, and in many respects, I feel like it’s been around me all of my life. I’ve had the joy of close friends conquering the disease, which is a wonderful celebration to participate in. But I’ve also had the heartache of immediate family members that have suffered and succumbed to it. My mother, who was my role model, died of stomach cancer at 65. My sister died just a few years ago at the age of 62 from ovarian cancer. And my father died from testicular cancer. So it’s in my DNA. While there are no good stories of people lost to cancer, I really have learned that there can be positive outcomes to heartbreaking circumstances. My mother, sister and I were very close; they were amazing human beings. They just showed so much grace and strength in the face of their illness. And from them, the biggest thing I learned was to not take things for granted and to live my life to honor the people who lived such good lives.
TVF: How is your company participating in Constellation Brands’ program?
EB: Our participation has primarily been an annual contribution through Constellation, and I’m not sure how many years we’ve been involved, but we’ve sustained that giving through a number of years. We’ve also run smaller campaigns with our customers to raise money for the V Foundation, as well as local hospice organizations. While we have yet to have a bigger event, we are in discussions to begin an annual golf tournament that would happen each fall.
TVF: Why is it so important to you to be involved in this initiative?
EB: Cure cancer. Save lives. Improve quality of lives. Keep families together. Having experienced what I have firsthand, those are the main goals. A company like Constellation, and many of us who are in their distributor family, are typically leaders in the community, and people, we hope, watch what we do. So we have contact with such a wide range of constituencies, that we have the opportunity to reach out and touch a wide number of people. And while charity shouldn’t be a competition, let’s face it, charity is not immune to that. Many people, including my wife and myself and our company, invest our dollars where we feel like we can get a good return on our investment. In terms of feeling a sense of participation and making a difference, the V Foundation is really the model of models for all charities.
TVF: What advice would you give to someone who has a loved one who has been diagnosed or is currently facing cancer?
EB: Stay connected. When people are going through that illness, there are many people who intend good things, but it doesn’t come across the way it is intended. Battling this disease at its more advanced levels is a tough thing to witness, but even a tougher thing to experience. I’ve seen the disconnect that people can often feel. I remember sitting with my mother and my sister and just carrying on conversations. There were clear signs of how meaningful those conversations were.
TVF: What does Victory Over Cancer® look like to you?
EB: From the experience over the years of families that are close and lose someone, I just kept thinking “empty beds and full seats.” When you go to hospitals or hospices, you see suffering people in those beds, and victory over cancer is those beds now empty. And victory over cancer is – at all family gatherings, whether its baptisms or birthdays or graduations or weddings – full seats. Nobody lost to cancer. I remember my Mom said what she was going to miss most was seeing her grandkids grow up. Victory over cancer is every grandparent getting to see their grandkids grow up.