Katrina McIvor beams from ear-to-ear while holding up a large framed photo. It shows one of her all-time favourite memories: her and her family standing in a pool at Discovery Cove, Florida, her arms wrapped around a dolphin.
There are other photos showing her kissing a dolphin on its pointy nose, and the entire family smiling into the camera, looking happy and relaxed. What seems like just a normal family vacation, however, was a life-changing event, says Kelly McIvor, Katrina’s mom.
Both her daughters were born with cystic fibrosis, an incurable disease that leads to infections in the digestive system and lungs.
Because of her illness, 11-year old Katrina was granted her wish to swim with dolphins by Canada’s Make A Wish Foundation.
“Home is where the illness is and you live in that reality of balancing therapy twice a day with regular chores,” says Kelly.
“The trip brought a lot of happiness back to our life and it makes you realize that you’re a family — with this illness or without it. It regrouped us.”
Katrina’s sister, 9-year old Kiarra, just had her wish approved: a visit to Turtle Cove in the Cayman Islands later this year.
“It’s like really hard to do your therapy because it wastes all your time, so it’s a pretty fun thing to do if you have something like [cystic fibrosis]. They have a baby turtle farm and we’re going to hold turtles and watch them hatch.”
A Unique Idea to Help Families
To help families like the McIvors and add more meaning to his daily work, Jim Bjorkes, National Sales Manager at Flight Centre, came up with a rather unique idea: Trek the wilds of Iceland with some of his colleagues and raise money for sick kids like Kiarra and Katrina.
“We’re a travel company, and obviously we love to travel. It really gets us going. So combining travel and fundraising just seemed like the perfect match,” says Jim.
This August, Jim and 29 of his co-workers will trek the beautiful, yet challenging Landmannalaugar route across the Southern Highlands of Iceland through one of the most active volcanic areas in the world.
Prior to embarking on this journey, each employee has pledged to raise $2,000 for Canada’s Make A Wish Foundation.
“If we all reach our fundraising goal, we’ll raise $60,000. So there’s going to be six families directly impacted by what we’re doing,” says Jim. “We even get to meet the families, so I already know that’s going to be very powerful.”
Flight Centre Empowering Employees
Director of Media and Communications Allison Wallace is one of the “Flighties” who will join Jim on the trek through Iceland. To date, she has raised $1,435 and is well on her way to meet her fundraising goal.
“I think it’s an absolute necessity for a company to be involved in charitable work – from a customer perspective and an employee perspective,” she says.
“It’s about building community, within your company and outside of your company. And if you want to be part of it you have to help make that community a thriving one.”
To do her fair share as a community builder, Allison has been spearheading the company’s charitable arm for years. All sorts of internal charitable requests — from fundraising for cancer research to races for kids hospitals — flutter onto her desk on a daily basis, she says.
“Our staff is spread out across seven provinces, 10 different brands, 1,700 people. … So, the biggest challenge has been trying to keep track of everything we’re doing.”
Since using Chimp, however, her task has become a lot easier, she says.
“Chimp gives us the flexibility to work across the country, so instead of being able to say we affected this community for $5,000, we can say we affected all of these communities across the country for $500,000. So, thanks to Chimp we can show the true impact of what we’re doing.”
Do you want to know more about how Chimp can help your company to amplify your company culture of giving back? Find out how a Chimp Company Account can work for your business.