Competing for the CF Cause
When Stephen Gordon began his career at GEICO 25 years ago, he knew he had found a great place to work. What he didn’t expect was how large a role his co-workers would play in his family’s fight against cystic fibrosis.
A Tradition of Giving Back
Nearly two decades ago, when Stephen knew little about CF, he was invited by a friend to participate in the local Sports Challenge fundraiser to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Georgia Chapter.
Stephen remembers walking away from the fun day of athletic events with a greater understanding of the disease and a commitment to continue his support.
The stories and information shared at the event also had a profound impact on many other GEICO employees. “The first year I went to the Sports Challenge, GEICO had one team,” Stephen says. “Eventually our presence grew to about 50 employees and five teams to support the several local families who work at GEICO and are directly affected by CF.”
Several years later, Stephen and his wife Robin welcomed their daughter Haley into the world. When they learned she had cystic fibrosis, they knew they could count on this network of support as they continued working toward a cure for the disease.
Walking Together in Great Strides
Employees and community members braved the 100-degree
heat to walk in the 2010 Great Strides event held at GEICO’s
Macon, Ga., campus.
When the local Sports Challenge event gave way to a Great Strides walk several years ago, employees in the two buildings that make up GEICO’s Macon, Ga., office ramped up their support and continued the spirit of friendly competition that started it all.
Over lunch-hour fundraising competitions, employees playfully banter back and forth about wins and losses. “One building is the Southeast region, and the other is Midwest, and people like trying to outdo one another for a good cause,” Stephen says. “We have done everything from cake auctions and pizza sales to Chick-fil-A and barbecue lunches. We’ve also started an online bidding site called ‘gBay,’ with over 200 items up for sale.”
To prepare for this year’s Middle Georgia Great Strides walk held at the GEICO campus, employees kept the competition alive through daily notification e-mails and bulletin boards to share the latest news and fundraising numbers. GEICO also provided incentives for donations by matching employee gifts.
On June 12, the Gordon family — Stephen, Robin, Haley and little sister Allie — joined 15 teams of local employees, family members and friends to walk in Great Strides.
“I always enjoy announcing our team totals and awards each year,” Stephen says. “You can see the pride in people’s faces. It’s not about what they’re getting, but what they’re giving back.”
Support Spreads to Other Offices
The quirky fundraising games and events that started in the Macon office are about more than just earning bragging rights — GEICO employees are dedicated contributors to the fight against cystic fibrosis.
With Great Strides teams forming at GEICO offices across the nation, the excitement continues to spread. Several employees assumed leadership roles to organize support, including Ryan West in Buffalo, N.Y., and Michael Shaw in Fort Worth, Texas. This spring, John Izzo and Amanda Talbert in Fredericksburg, Va., organized an enthusiastic first-year GEICO Great Strides team to raise an additional $12,400.
In total, GEICO raised more than $63,000 for the CF Foundation this year and is a prime example of how employees can work together to contribute to a great cause — while having a lot of fun in the process.
“My mission is to find a cure for Haley and everybody else with CF, and I’m grateful for the many people at GEICO who stand behind us,” Stephen says.
“They see the results of the clinical trials and the improvements in quality of life each year, and that’s a great encouragement to all families affected by CF and the people who support us.”
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