Healthcare Solutions 29 October, 2016

Change Wars: Supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness

Throughout Stericycle, cultural ambassadors—designated staff members who strive to foster an engaging, inviting workplace—spearhead projects to promote staff unity and impact the communities they are in.

Shauna Kersey is one such ambassador at the company’s Bedford, Texas site. Earlier this month, Kersey and her colleagues worked together to raise funds for childhood cancer. “One of our employees lost her child to cancer, and we thought that having an event to raise money would not only be meaningful for her, but also rally the office around a good cause,” says Kersey. “Many people don’t realize that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so this was an opportunity to educate staff, encourage their participation and help a great charity.”

To raise funds, the site had a Change War. First, event leaders divided the staff into teams and tasked each group to make a “piggy tank”—a one-gallon, decorated container that would house the change. The container had to be fully covered so no one could see the contents. Once the contest was underway, staff brought in pennies for their piggy tanks. Teams were also encouraged to “attack” other team’s tanks by “bombing” them with silver coins or cash—filling the other team’s tank with the money in the process.

Following this effort, the Bedford office was able to donate more than $1,800 to two organizations: Cook Children’s Health Care System, which treated the employee’s daughter, and Children’s Miracle Network, a charity that raises local funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals, including Cook Children’s, that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Once the event was over, staff members brought all the coins to a local money exchange. “We attracted a bit of attention because it took us nearly three hours to deposit all the change,” says Kersey. “People would stop and ask us what we were doing, and we received a lot of positive feedback while telling people about the cause. One lady even chipped in $5.”

The event also held a deeper meaning for the staff. Employees were able to help their colleague that lost her child to cancer directly impact a cause she’s personally passionate about and give back to community organizations working to impact childhood cancer research, awareness and treatment. This brought the office closer together, giving those there a sense of pride and purpose—values central to Stericycle as a company. Going forward, the Bedford office hopes to engage in more charitable giving events. “This was such a fun project, and we hope to make it an annual tradition, possibly changing who we send money to each year,” says Kersey. “It’s a good way to bring staff together, but ultimately it was a great opportunity for us to be generous and give some of ourselves to others who need it.”

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