Excelas Walk out of Work Challenge (WOOW!) gets employees moving while giving back to the community

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In January, Excelas kicked off its 2012 Excel-ness Wellness program with the Walk out of Work Challenge (WOOW). In an effort to motivate employees to stay active and give back to the community, Excelas’ Wellness and Outreach Teams joined forces to create the program. Staff members were given pedometers and encouraged to walk 10,000 steps a day, with the potential of earning up to 24 hours of paid time off and a donation to a charity of their choice. When the program concluded on March 15, Excelas employees had tracked a total of 18,200,725 steps (9,100 miles!) and had earned donations for 32 charities. Delighted with the success of this effort, Excelas Wellness coordinators are working on the next wellness and community outreach program. Below are some Excelas staff members’ descriptions of their charities and why they chose them as the recipient of their WOOW donation.

  • Living Water International It breaks my heart that there are still people who do not have access to something as simple as safe drinking water. Lack of water or bad water kills 2.2 million people a year, limits education and growth, and keeps people poor and trapped in poverty. Living Water International builds wells, trains individuals in pump repairs, and teaches health and hygiene to those in need all over the world. They are committed to assist communities in self-sustaining water solutions, and they do this through demonstrating the love of God. As they build relationships to empower towns and villages to take care of themselves, they share God’s promise of love and redemption, and the power to transform lives into stories of hope and purpose! CLICK HERE
  • Peace Bear Project Peace Bear Project is a non-profit organization for families grieving a stillbirth or early infant death. They provide support to these families while in the hospital and provide a teddy bear to those leaving the hospital with empty arms. They also raise awareness that every life is special and should be remembered. This charity is important to me because my husband and I were directly affected by a situation like this. We were provided a Peace Bear after having to deliver our baby early due to medical complications and ultimately lost the baby. Although it is probably one of the most terrible and difficult situations to deal with, the love and support we felt through this initiative was amazing! It’s a great cause and we are happy to support it. CLICK HERE
  • Friendship Animal Protective League Friendship Animal Protective League is the largest animal shelter in Lorain County and has been around since 1957. They take care of abused, injured and abandoned animals until they can find a home. The shelter depends on volunteers and financial support from donations and with various fundraisers. CLICK HERE
  • Humane Society of Greater Akron PAWSibilities®, Humane Society of Greater Akron, rescues and rehabilitates abused, abandoned and neglected animals of Summit County, places them in good homes, investigates and prosecutes animal cruelty, and strives to set a standard of excellence and leadership in animal care, humane education, and progressive animal welfare programs. Approximately 5% of their funding comes from local government sources. The rest comes from private donations, grants, and adoptions. CLICK HERE
  • Family Adoption Consultants The organization that I walked for is Family Adoption Consultants. They are the agency we used to facilitate our adoption for Brooklynn. They are an Adoption agency with almost 30 years of successful operation, during which 4,500 children have been placed for adoption from 50+ countries, including the U.S. They opened in 1982 in Michigan with an office in Ravenna, Ohio. CLICK HERE
  • National MS Society My charity was the National MS Society. They help individuals address the challenges of living with Multiple Sclerosis. The Society helps people affected by MS by funding research, facilitating professional education, and providing programs and services that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. My family was personally affected by this disease. My father suffered for over 20 years with multiple sclerosis, and the impact on our family was tremendous. CLICK HERE
  • The Gathering Place The mission of The Gathering Place is to support, educate and empower individuals and families touched by cancer through programs and services provided free of charge. It was important to me to choose this charity because I have a close friend who was diagnosed with stage 4, terminal cancer just about 2 years ago at the age of 24. I think the Gathering Place is a fantastic organization and resource for those who are touched by cancer. CLICK HERE
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society I identified the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as my charity of choice in memory of a close family member who lost their life to lymphoma. As per the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website: The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is to “cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.” LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services. CLICK HERE
  • The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs is an organization that rescues senior dogs abandoned in shelters and fosters them until they can find a permanent home. Senior dogs are often overlooked at animal shelters, and the Sanctuary aims to raise awareness of our lifelong responsibility to our animals and to strengthen the bonds between humans and animals by teaching respect and compassion for all living things. I have always been an animal lover and have a soft spot for the elderly animals that sometimes live out their lives in a shelter. The Sanctuary is a great charity that allows these animals to spend their later years in a peaceful home environment. CLICK HERE
  • Conversation Station The Conversation Station in Orwell, OH is a self-funded, not-for-profit organization that provides a safe place for children after school, and also during the summer, for those in 4th grade and up. Adult volunteers, with BCI checks on file, supervise and mentor the children. There are plenty of activities to choose from, or kids can just have quiet time, if they prefer. Children are provided a free snack and beverage. There is no charge for membership. I support Conversation Station, as we are a small rural community without a lot of non-school-related activities for children. This gives kids a place to go that is both safe and fun. CLICK HERE
  • The Ellie Godina Memorial Walk My charity is the Ellie Godina Memorial Walk for Pulmonary Hypertension. Ellie was the daughter of a dear friend of mine who at age 2 ½ was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension and died two days later. The walk is held in her honor to raise money and awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension. This year the walk was on Saturday, 4/28/12 at 9:00 AM at the Lakefront Community Center in Euclid. CLICK HERE
  • Humane Society of Greater Akron PAWSibilities®, Humane Society of Greater Akron, rescues and rehabilitates abused, abandoned and neglected animals of Summit County, places them in good homes, investigates and prosecutes animal cruelty, and strives to set a standard of excellence and leadership in animal care, humane education, and progressive animal welfare programs. Approximately 5% of their funding comes from local government sources. The rest comes from private donations, grants, and adoptions. CLICK HERE
  • Global Emergency Care I supported Global Emergency Care Collaborative. My daughter Amelia was awarded a Fulbright and is spending her year in Uganda working with GECC conducting malaria research. GECC is training nurses to become emergency nurse practitioners (ECP), so they can run an emergency department. Emergency rooms only exist in major cities and never in rural areas. Her hospital is one of the first to build an ED and staff it with these nurses. The current ECPs are now running the training courses for the next group of students. GECC is hoping to spread this to rural hospitals throughout Uganda, so it will eventually become a self-sustaining program. CLICK HERE
  • National Kidney Foundation My charity, The National Kidney Foundation, helps people with CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease). They provide not only education regarding the disease itself, but also how to prevent kidney disease, how to live with it once you have it, and where to go to get support for yourself and your family. There are message boards on the site where you can see how others are coping and maybe get some ideas to improve your overall life along with recipes to help with your day to day living. This charity is important to me because my husband has Chronic Kidney Disease. He was diagnosed six years ago with Stage IV CKD. He had high blood pressure and did not know it. Now, six years later, he is still Stage IV and we are thankful for that. Holding off dialysis is a daily job of watching salt intake and protein intake, but as his doctor says, “Keep doing what you’re doing.” CLICK HERE
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. They fund more CF research than any other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of their support. Their focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF, and ultimately to find a cure. A classmate in high school had cystic fibrosis, and I always try to give to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation when I can. CLICK HERE
  • Lake Humane Society I love animals and live in Lake County so this seemed like the perfect choice for me. Lake Humane Society has been in existence since 1937 and is dedicated to the welfare and protection of animals in Lake County. They focus on relief of suffering and prevention of cruelty and abuse to animals, and then educate children and adults in the humane and respectful treatment of all living creatures. They care for homeless, abandoned and injured animals; provide 24 hour a day/365 days a year On Call Rescue Service; and recently joined forces with Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen to assist with after-hours emergencies for wild animals. CLICK HERE
  • The Gathering Place HairPeace Wig Salon After visiting the facility with Excelas, I was most impressed with its community services. After reading an article in the Plain Dealer describing their wig salon, whereby Cancer participants borrow the wigs like library books, I thought it was a wonderful concept! Having a friend with stage III breast cancer who had to go through the expense to buy a wig, I thought this would be a great gift from Excelas, LLC that would keep on giving! CLICK HERE
  • American Cancer Society The American Cancer Society saves lives in a variety of different ways. The organization helps people take steps to prevent cancer or detect it at its earliest, most treatable stage. They offer free information, programs, services, and community referrals to patients, survivors, and caregivers through every step of a cancer experience. The American Cancer Society also funds groundbreaking research and works with lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer. CLICK HERE
  • Alternaterm Pregnancy Services Alternaterm Pregnancy Services is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to preserving life by providing spiritual, emotional, medical and practical support to individuals as they deal with issues relating to sexual responsibility and pregnancy. The women’s ministry at my church has collected baby items for Alternaterm over the years. All the services they provide are free to the participants, so I wanted to lighten their load however I could. CLICK HERE
  • Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids (NC4K) was started back in 2006 by Nellie Krumlauf when she was 16 years old in an effort to bring childhood cancer to the forefront. NC4K’s mission is to actively help kids, teens, and their families that are touched by cancer. The money raised by their events helps them work in conjunction with Nationwide Children’s Hospital Oncology Unit by supporting the families in every way possible. CLICK HERE
  • Malachi House My favorite charity is Malachi House. Run by volunteers, it is a home that provides care to the dying poor. It is very near and dear to my heart because my Dad died of cancer a few years ago. He was fortunate that he was surrounded by loving family and friends in his final days. If Malachi House did not exist, less fortunate folks would die alone. CLICK HERE