Leading the Way

Unum is making “Great Strides” in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis

Unum was recently recognized by the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation at their National Volunteer Leadership Summit, receiving the foundation’s American Spirit Award in honor of the company’s consistent participation in the Great Strides Walk event.

Through the efforts of two Unum employees affected by cystic fibrosis, Unum now has 20 offices participating in the Great Strides event, raising over $400,000 in 16 years.

Ted Reed, Unum’s vice president of business development, and Geoff Widlak, a former Unum sales leader turned broker, were personally affected by this disease that threatens the lives of over 30,000 Americans. Through a grassroots effort, Ted and Geoff expanded Unum’s awareness and involvement with the CF Foundation.

Geoff used his sales position at Unum to spread the word. Each Unum field office he visited, he shared his wife’s CF story and wasn’t shy when it came to asking for donations. Geoff created an internal national support system. Ultimately, with Geoff’s extensive travel schedule and his wife’s health, he decided to change career paths and focus on spending more time with his family.

Ted Reed’s story began when his daughter, Hogan, was diagnosed with CF in 1999.

“After my wife and I learned of our daughter’s diagnosis of CF at age three, we started getting involved in the Great Strides events in Portland,” Ted said. “Through the combination of philanthropic support from family, friends, colleagues and Unum’s matching gifts program, our donations started with a few thousand dollars in our first year of fundraising and grew to over $50,000 each year following. These efforts were happening independently across campuses, but collaboratively toward one goal. We now have a cross campus committee facilitating events and donations enterprise-wide.”

Currently, Hogan is 20 and almost half way through her undergraduate years at the University of Vermont. Hogan is thriving, more than happy and engaging fully in life.

There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, but the foundation and its biotech partners have a number of potentially lifesaving drugs in the pipeline. You can help fund the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s research through fundraising, personal donations or walking in a 2017 Great Strides Walk. Unum teams are participating in Great Strides events across the country on May 13 and 20.

Ever dollar donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation helps fund research for new drugs and cures. To donate or find a Great Strides walk near you, visit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation today.

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