In the winter of 1995, I had a cough that just wouldn't go away. I put it off for months, but when I finally got myself to a doctor, he told me the most unimaginable news: I had cancer.
I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system and spreads through the body's lymph nodes. The cough was a result of a large tumor mass in my chest cavity, pushing up against my windpipe. I was lucky. I was diagnosed in the disease's early stages, had amazing health insurance and the unwavering support of friends and family.
But it took a year of chemotherapy and radiation to save my life. That was 14 years ago. I call that time a blessing and a curse. It was a difficult period, but it has shaped who I am and has made me so appreciative of everything I now have. I do believe that it happened to me for a greater purpose, however, and that is to do everything in my power to eradicate cancer. I am relentless in my pursuit of a cure.
Before joining Aegis Media, I ran communications in New York for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest independent breast cancer foundation. I knew if I returned to a corporate role that I would still need an outlet for my philanthropic endeavors.
During my last round of Aegis Media interviews, I asked what the organization had done for charity and found out that the company truly understood the importance of giving back to the community. Aegis Media had founded the Cares group across its agencies. Cares is an employee-driven volunteer committee that manages and participates in charitable activities, including fundraising and pro-bono work. To date, Cares has raised nearly $200,000 for charities that focus on children, the environment and health-related causes.
Long before my arrival at the organization, Aegis Media and Carat participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk. It is a night to pay tribute and bring hope to people battling blood cancers. Walks take place in communities throughout the U.S. and Canada in the fall. On these special nights, thousands of participants carry illuminated balloons and raise funds for vital, lifesaving research and patient services.
It is our eighth year participating in Light the Night, and we have raised nearly $45,000. This is our second year serving as a corporate sponsor, joining the ranks of institutions such as Citi, Toyota, PricewaterhouseCoopers and many others in the battle against blood cancers. It has personally meant so much to me to have my colleagues raise funds and walk with me across the Brooklyn Bridge to celebrate my survivorship.
This year, our company has done more work than ever before to help LLS. In addition to our sponsorship, several of our key executives secured coverage for the organization PSA, featuring Tina Fey, this year's Light the Night spokeswoman. The Carat team placed a PSA on TV stations, including WCBS and WLNY in the New York area, and online ads on Hulu, eonline.com, foxnews.com, mlb.com and mtv.com, among others.
Finally, our Isobar digital network assisted LLS with another event, created by Michael C. Fina called the Diamond Dash, where we provided SMS services to lead brides along a scavenger hunt that raised money for and awareness of the cause.
In addition to already raising almost $1,200 personally, I created a media partnership with the New York Post.
To promote the upcoming Light the Night event in our New York office, we held two fundraising parties, the Big Scoop, where Carat President Martin Cass scooped ice cream for the troops, and Charity House, a happy hour that took place at local pub Public House. Next up: the walk itself on Oct. 15.
This year, our company took a $10,000 sponsorship. Our team is working to raise another $10,000, and I know we can do it, to bring our total donation to $20,000. Our team is already being formed and will be led by me along with my Cares co-chair Tracy Pearce, AMNA CEO Nigel Morris and Carat's Mr. Cass. Everyone is invited to participate and can register free online.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR|
Adrienne Scordato is VP-director of corporate communications for Aegis Media North America, New York.