Walking the Walk: How the National Office Does Great Strides

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people raise millions of dollars for Great Strides -- the CF Foundation's largest national fundraising event. But did you know that the staff of the national office in Bethesda, Md., form their own department teams and also raise money alongside the CF community?

May 24, 2016 | 4 min read
Peter Knockstead Cropped
Peter Knockstead

In my job, I get to see first-hand how our family and corporate fundraising teams contribute to our success. Their commitment and passion remains a profound inspiration to me and my colleagues. So much so that ever since I started working at the CF Foundation, I have walked in the Bethesda, Md., Great Strides walk with the national office and helped raise money. This year, I had the pleasure of serving as the national office team leader, which made this walk extra special for me.

Since I took on this new role, I have found myself in complete awe of my co-workers. They are so passionate and generous in sharing their time, talent and money, continuously giving to the organization where they spend the majority of their time.

This generosity got me thinking about the reasons why any of us volunteer. With busy lives filled with work, family and many commitments and choices, what drives us to muster extra motivation and energy to participate in an event like Great Strides? I found, in part, my answer in a quote from Gandhi. He said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” 

I couldn't agree more. I know that this applies to my wonderful colleagues and so accurately describes every single person working here. Our commitment to fighting CF does not stop at the end of the workday. It is our personal passion and choice. Like so many wonderful family and corporate teams from around the country, we truly walk the walk!


As an office, we raised money in many different ways. While some staffers fundraised on their own, each department hosted a passion fundraising event. From a chili cook-off to a bake-off, from a cornhole tournament to a rock concert-themed rally, we hosted an array of competitions and activities to raise money and awareness. We had a lot of fun along the way and raised a heck of lot of money for CF, too.


And we got to walk the walk on May 11. Although it rained and rained the entire day, as the start time for our walk approached, the clouds finally parted and we ended up with a packed attendance filled with love and enthusiasm. It felt good. And besides, a little rain could never dampen our spirits. 

I had the distinct pleasure of delivering opening remarks alongside our fearless leader Dr. Preston Campbell and introducing Milton Koch -- father to a child with CF and a long-time and dedicated CF champion. I told the crowd of walkers, “Almost 30 years ago, when there was less hope and little money, we started Great Strides to change all of that. Now look at what we are all doing with the money raised through this inspiring event.”


Leading the national office was an awesome responsibility -- I even got to dress up as Elton John during our Great Strides kickoff event -- for which I will be forever grateful. It truly was a gift to lead this great group of colleagues and contribute even more to the CF community.

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Great Strides | Fundraising
Peter Knockstead Cropped

Peter lives in the heart of Washington, D.C. He is passionate about work, life, Apple products, books, history, Redskins, family, God, his two schnauzers -- George and Weezy -- and other passionate people making an everyday difference in the world. As the former senior director of corporate engagement at the Foundation, Peter worked on national corporate and donor cultivation, and with national sponsors and chapter staff. Follow @knockstead on Twitter.

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