On May 1, the American Lung Association will honor three women who are both mothers and leaders in their industries at the first-ever Chicago Outstanding Mother Awards. Vogelzang Law’s own Caylei Vogelzang will be honored at the ceremony for her work with both the law firm and Cancer Wellness. Mary Kay Bonoma, executive vice president for the Illinois Restaurant Association, and Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, will also be honored for their achievements. This award honors the importance of family, a value that both Caylei Vogelzang and the ALA embody in their work.
This ceremony recognizes three strong mothers at the top of their industries. Balancing motherhood and outstanding careers, each honoree serves as a pillar of their community. The Outstanding Mother Awards will be hosted by the ALA in partnership with the National Mother’s Day Council at the Hyatt Regency.
“It is an honor and a privilege to follow in the footsteps of great leaders. This award is a nice confirmation of the work I have been doing at Vogelzang Law and in spurring the Cancer Wellness initiative,” Vogelzang says.
Vogelzang founded the magazine in 2017, inspired by the clients of the law firm, a family business led by her husband Nicholas Vogelzang. As a mesothelioma law firm, the Vogelzang Law team became intimately acquainted with families in a difficult stage of life. Mesothelioma acts quickly and aggressively, often leaving patients with a life expectancy of one year or less. At the firm, Vogelzang accompanied families to court, met with them, and grew to know their stories. These relationships inspired her to serve and support the cancer community.
She realized that many clients felt defined by their cancer, and she wanted to deliver a way for them to reconnect with themselves in the face of an often overwhelming challenge. Thus, Cancer Wellness was born. As a lifestyle magazine, Cancer Wellness strives to empower those living with cancer to thrive beyond the scope of their illness and stay connected to their interests.
“My focus on my mission is a direct result of seeing the devastating effects of mesothelioma firsthand. This story is not only grief but also humanity and the positives of resilience, strength, and power,” Vogelzang says.
This honor by the ALA reminds Vogelzang of the importance of fighting for clean air and better lung health. Through the ALA and Vogelzang Law, the emphasis remains on improving life for American families. As the director of business strategy, Vogelzang helps maintain a focus on each individual that the firm serves. By connecting families with resources like the ALA for emotional and financial support, she keeps a focus on holistic assistance front and center.
“It’s about more than just legal support. This award makes me feel like we’re doing the right thing. Our mission is empowerment in the face of tragedy. Especially financially, our clients are often the sole breadwinners of their families. We want to help our clients leave a lifelong legacy, and sometimes the funds can help send grandkids to college,” she says.
As the award ceremony approaches, Vogelzang is keeping working families at the forefront of her mind. From mesothelioma to lung cancer, Vogelzang Law champions lung health awareness. The firm is proud to join organizations like the ALA who are on the front lines fighting for a world with clean air and healthy lungs.
“It’s great to be involved with another well-rounded organization that sees that lobbying is necessary. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to move from treatment to prevention and build a healthier community,” Vogelzang says.