Marlene and Michael Soto had always dreamed of having a family, and while it did not happen overnight, they jumped at the chance to adopt 5-day-old Christian and become parents. After taking him home for the first night, the Sotos received the call that Christian had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
"We didn't know much about the disease. It was incredibly scary, probably one of the toughest days of our lives,” said Marlene. Despite the initial shock of the diagnosis, the Sotos were very excited and hopeful as they settled in with their new baby boy who already captured their hearts.
After bringing home the newest member of their family and returning to their jobs at Merrill/Bank of America, they discovered that their coworkers had gotten in contact with the local CF Foundation Arizona Chapter to find a way to support the family during this difficult time, and started a workplace “jeans day” fundraiser.
Soon, their coworkers rallied more than 3,000 employees across six offices in support of finding a cure for CF. They set a goal of raising $5,000 and it wasn't long before they surpassed that. “The employees at Merrill/Bank of America have always been dedicated to giving back to the community,” said Michael. “It was amazing to see our story bring us together across multiple offices.”
Since the fundraiser began, there have been more than 600 gifts made, totaling over $16,000. Even more impressive, when Merrill/Bank of America matches the gifts, the total will come to more than $32,000. “We are beyond thankful to have the support of our employees. Bank of America truly understands the purpose of connecting us to such a great cause,” Marlene said.