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Dreama and Mark Waldrop have been personally supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a number of years, but they recently moved their giving to a whole new level. Their personal passions have led them to create a philanthropic arm of their company, Therapy Management Corporation (TMC).
The Homossossa, Florida, residents are the private owners of TMC, which runs and manages therapy services in senior living facilities. TMC serves more than 3,000 clients each day in 133 facilities across nine states, and employs approximately 1,500 full- and part-time staff members.
“About a year and a half ago we decided to incorporate the concept of ‘giving back’ and helping others into our company’s culture”, explains Dreama. “We wanted to do something that the entire TMC family could get involved with.” And thus began TMC: The Mission Continues, the company’s nonprofit side, which harnesses the volunteerism and energy of TMC’s employees to raise money for community events and outreach opportunities.
The Waldrops chose to kick off their new initiative during their annual leadership retreat in September; they could think of no more fitting venue to do so than at St. Jude. Nineteen senior staff members, including the Waldrops, came to Memphis to tour the hospital and to serve dinner and play games with patient families staying at the Ronald McDonald House affiliated with St. Jude.
“It was an amazing experience for our team,” says Mark. “The reaction we received was very moving. The word we heard most was ‘life-changing.’” Dreama notes that their group learned a lot about St. Jude on the tour. “People didn’t know about the research and the clinical components of St. Jude, and the intermingling of the two sides to get the best results for patients.”
The September visit was also the first time the Waldrops had seen the hospital. “We had no idea what this hospital is able to do,” adds Dreama. “The trip truly put life in perspective.”
Perspective is something that led the Waldrops to become supporters of St. Jude about seven years ago, after their youngest son was hit by a car and suffered massive brain injuries. “They told us he would never recover,” Dreama says. “He survived miraculously and he’s now 12 and doing well.”
“That experience showed us what people have to go through when their child is sick,” she says. “We had good insurance but we saw so many folks who didn’t. We appreciate that at St. Jude, they don’t turn anyone away because of the inability to pay.”
The Waldrops have incorporated that value into their business model as well. “We try to help people who don’t have the means to pay for the therapies they need, or to connect them to services available,” Mark explains.