Great Strides 2008
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GREAT STRIDES Turns 20: Families and Companies Team Up for Success

Matthew and John Magner, ages 3 and 5, respectively, provided the inspiration behind Team Mighty Magners. The Magner family hooked up with nearly 400 of their “closest friends,” and raised $80,000 for GREAT STRIDES.

GREAT STRIDES turned 20 this year, and volunteers from coast to coast rallied to make it a year to remember. For the CF Foundation’s number one national fund-raising program, walkers in 584 locations—including 50 brand new walk sites—put their best foot forward, raising a record-breaking total of nearly $37 million for GREAT STRIDES. 

Companies Pack a Punch

In 2008, companies formed teams of their own, often with a connection to an employee whose child has CF. New to this year’s walk was Winston Salem’s Southern Community Bank Team, led by Bank President Jeff Clark, whose nephew Wells, age 8, has CF. Clark pursued corporate support by reaching out to employees in different bank branches and getting as many people as possible involved. “We had Wells come to some of our meetings,” said Jeff. “After meeting him, employees wanted to sign up. They understood that to help find a cure for CF, we would need everyone’s support.” 

In Cincinnati, Duke Energy built on their initial participation in GREAT STRIDES last year by elevating the first year’s key players to team leaders, who then put their expertise to work. “Each team had different fund-raising strategies—everything from a corn-hole tournament (a popular bean bag toss) to a chili cook-off—then we collaborated and shared ideas on what was and was not working,” said team leader and founder Jenny Bulach. Corporate networking also played an important role. “About 20 percent of our donations came from corporate sponsorship and matching gifts from donor companies,” said Bulach.

With 15 years of GREAT STRIDES walks under its belt, Team Manzi had a record year, raising  $107,000. Team leader Joe Manzi, CEO and president of construction consultants J.E. Manzi & Associates, Inc. and father of Jennifer, age 30 and Lisa, age 25, both of whom have CF, put it this way, “My two girls need a cure—now!”  His strategy was simple: to approach his clients with a very aggressive letter-writing campaign, in which he noted that this year’s walk marked the third anniversary of the day his son Eric, age 30, lost his battle with CF. “My clients know how important this cause is to me, and they’re very good about contributing,” said Joe.

Families Making Connections

Once again, devoted family teams reached out to their communities and brought back overwhelming support. In its third year, the Mighty Magners hooked up with nearly 400 of the family’s “closest friends” and raised an impressive $80,000 for GREAT STRIDES. “Basically we e-mailed everybody we’ve ever met in our entire lives,” said Jackie Magner, whose sons John, 5, and Matthew, 3, were diagnosed with CF three years ago. “All our friends and families try to help us in their own special ways every day,” said Magner. “But we ask them to do this walk once a year, and I think they really enjoy being able to directly help the CF cause on this day.”

Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the CF Foundation said that teams like the Magners are at the heart of the GREAT STRIDES effort. “Every year, I’m amazed all over again at the passion and dedication of our GREAT STRIDES teams,” he said “Their efforts are enabling us to make great advancements toward finding a cure for CF. We can’t thank them enough.”

Mark Your Calendars Now for Great Strides 2008

Be sure to put the weekend of May 16-17, 2009 on your calendars today. Get a jump on brainstorming ways to promote your GREAT STRIDES walks—let's make 2009 the best year ever for raising money to benefit CF research!

Thank You

The CF Foundation proudly thanks each of our corporate partners who generously sponsored GREAT STRIDES 2008. Your support is helping us make GREAT STRIDES toward finding a cure. Special thanks to Outstanding Corporate Partner American Airlines® and National Corporate Partners Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Airgas Puritan Medical, Novartis and Gilead Sciences for their support.