A little more than 10 years ago Jedd Williams and his wife learned that their third child, Emily, would be born with cystic fibrosis.
“My wife and I knew that we were carriers of the disease, but it was still a shock to us both,” said Jedd, managing director at Cisco Systems Inc.
Determined to fight for his daughter, Jedd started a Great Strides team called Emily's Hope to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's mission. A few years later, he learned there was an opportunity to create a national corporate team, so he reached out to his employer, Cisco, to take his team to the next level.
“Cisco is very philanthropic as a culture, so they were immediately very invested in raising awareness and supporting my fundraising efforts.” Ten years have passed, and Emily's Hope still ranks as a top-performing corporate team.
In addition to fundraising, Jedd creates a video each year to share updates about Emily and any important medical updates from the Foundation.
“When there is something big that happens, we make sure that our community knows that it's because of their donations that so much progress has been made.”
Constantly looking for ways to unite team members across the nation, he created Emily's Hope team T-shirts. “We send out around 600 shirts across the country each year. Every now and then I'll see my T-shirt, and I'll ask the person wearing it, 'Hey where did you get that?' and they'll say, 'This guy Jedd at Cisco sent it to me,' and I'm like, 'I'm Jedd!' It's moments like that where you realize just how small the world is and the impact you're having.”
Emily's Hope and Cisco have raised more than $1,000,000 for the CF Foundation. “Probably the best part about all of this is that we've been able to establish a community and get to know each other even after walk day. Together, we've raised a lot of money, have driven significant awareness, and made a lot of progress. But we aren't done yet.”