As the summer months come to an end and fall draws closer, First American employees from offices across the nation ready themselves to participate in upcoming breast cancer walks and races to raise awareness for breast cancer and help fund research for a cure.
First American is partnering with both the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen to raise awareness, provide financial support, and save lives. The American Cancer Society began in 1913 to raise public awareness about cancer, which was a taboo topic at the time. Their cancer walks began in 1984 and were officially named in 1993 as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks. More than 11 million walkers have participated in Making Strides events across 300 communities and raised more than $685 million to help fight breast cancer. Susan G. Komen was founded in 1982 to honor the memory of its namesake, who ultimately lost a three-year battle against breast cancer. In 1983, the organization hosted its first Race for the Cure. What began as one Race with 800 people has grown into a global movement comprised of more than 150 Races and nearly 1 million participants. Events like Race for the Cure have allowed Susan G. Komen to invest more than $2 billion in breast cancer research and resources.
Last year, 1,061 First American employees participated in 19 breast cancer walks and races across 15 different states. Employees raised more than $85,000 and the company itself contributed to the cause by giving more than $125,000 through race sponsorships and donations.
One of the main focus areas of First American's philanthropic and community service program, Caring for Our Community, is women's advocacy. The company and its employees support charities that provide benefits, programs and services which promote women's health, professional growth and quality of life. “As a company comprised of almost 70 percent women we viewed this as a business need to have women’s advocacy as one of our primary areas of focus for our philanthropic endeavors,” said human resources project coordinator Ryan Bruz. “First American employees have long been involved with breast cancer walks. By establishing the Caring for Our Community program several years ago, we simply formalized what our employees were already doing.”
Though most races and walks occur later in the fall, several offices have already participated in local events. First American employees from National Commercial Services (NCS) Houston, TX participated in the Houston Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk earlier in the summer. Commercial service representatives and team captains Denise Tinkham and Janelle Hall worked hard to ensure the First American NCS Pink Flamingos were one of the top fundraising teams at the event. “We had many fundraising opportunities at the office,” said Denise. “We had incentives at our office among the employees for fundraising, and we also hosted an ice cream social and a Cinco de Mayo party.” Though employees had a good time raising funds for the walk, for many the event was personal. Janelle has lost her mother, aunt, and brother to various cancers, among them breast cancer. Her father is a leukemia survivor. “It was moving to see how many people in our office had experienced some form of cancer through their friends and family,” said Janelle. The generosity of the Houston NCS employees and their supporters enabled the Pink Flamingos to surpass their fundraising goal of $5,000 by $535.
In Madison, WI, First American employees banded together to support one of their own. Commercial escrow manager Patricia Katte is a breast cancer survivor, and has received a Susan G. Komen survivorship ribbon for the past 13 years. However, her fight with the cancer continues, and her coworkers entered the Komen South Central Wisconsin Race for the Cure as the First Am Angels in a show of support. Corporate challenged the Madison employees to a fundraising event to prepare for the Race. “We participated in our second annual lap challenge by doing laps around the capitol during lunch and breaks throughout the month of May,” said NSC commercial manager Karen Stone. “Our top walker was commercial escrow officer Judy Armstrong, who logged a total of 17.5 miles!” For every lap employees walked, the office provided a donation toward the First Am Angels’ fundraiser. Thanks to these corporate donations, as well as donations from employees and clients, the team’s total fundraising amount topped $4,700. Race day was an emotional affair. “Our team of employees, family, and friends were there to see Pat receive her 14th Komen survivorship ribbon,” said Karen.
“The Caring for Our Community team is working closely with the American Cancer Society and Komen foundation to make this a national event for the company and support as many races as possible,” said Ryan.
Employees from the First American offices in Walnut Creek, CA readied themselves for their local Making Strides walk one crisp morning earlier this summer. Despite only having three weeks to prepare for the race, a sizable group of employees devoted their Saturday morning to supporting their coworkers, friends, and neighbors affected by breast cancer. “Joining with the community to fight against this threat was a very rewarding experience,” said Josie Martinez, vice president of the east bay area division. With Josie acting as team captain, the First American Pink Power team raised $1,135 in under a month. “This race was important to my team because we have all been touched with the challenges, tragedies and triumphs related to cancer,” said Josie. “It was empowering to come together and make a difference!”
Last year, 1,061 First American employees participated in 19 breast cancer walks and races across 15 different states. Employees raised more than $85,000 and the company itself contributed to the cause by giving more than $125,000 through race sponsorships and donations. This year’s participation promises to be even more expansive than the last, with 31 planned walks and races. “The Caring for Our Community team is working closely with the American Cancer Society and Komen foundation to make this a national event for the company and support as many races as possible,” said Ryan.