Brett Guzdziol can thank his mother and a very dedicated doctor for the opportunity to grow up with one of his best friends — his sister, Mikayla.
Mikayla was born with an acute respiratory virus, and several doctors said nothing could be done for the baby. But her mother persisted and found the doctor who cured Mikayla. "She is one of my best friends, and I can’t imagine growing up without her," Guzdziol said.
When he learned that his employer, Zurich North America, offered the opportunity to donate to charity through a workplace giving program, he knew he wanted to support a charity for health care or children. "St. Jude does both, and it was a perfect fit."
Zurich is one example of how companies across the U.S. support St. Jude through employee giving and matching company gifts. A recent addition to the St. Jude employee giving program is stjudeatwork.org, a website that provides information and a virtual toolkit for companies who want to include St. Jude in their workplace giving programs. The website offers engaging ideas for fundraising at work, including bake sales, a fun run at the office, an ugly sweater contest and an office trivia contest.
Zurich selects an executive champion and two employee champions to promote each of its core charities and Guzdziol, 28, is an employee champion for St. Jude. In that role, Guzdziol visited St. Jude where he was "blown away" despite already being familiar with the hospital’s pioneering research and exceptional care. "St. Jude goes to extreme efforts to ensure that the kids still have a childhood and that their families can remain close during that time. That was what left me so inspired," he said. "That is what sets St. Jude apart from any other charity."
One thing I didn’t expect when I started doing this was the feeling of connectedness with other colleagues. It’s a nice benefit.
"St. Jude is the No.1 charity supported through Zurich’s A Time For Giving campaign," said Andrea Davis, program manager for community investment at Zurich.
"The idea of helping provide sick children with innovative treatments that will give them the best chance to live a full, healthy life – in an environment where the family is supported — makes it a natural draw for many Zurich employees to support St. Jude," Davis said.
Working together to help St. Jude children also builds employee relationships, Guzdziol said. "One thing I didn’t expect when I started doing this was the feeling of connectedness with other colleagues. It’s a nice benefit."