Tech Credit Union employees and their families gathered at their Corporate Office in Winfield on Monday, September 19, for a 24-minute luminary walk in support of those, we have lost/who have survived and those currently battling cancer. Numerous luminaries decorated the driveway leading up to the building, each designed with photos, ribbons, Bible verses, and other inspirational quotes to pay homage to loved ones whose lives have been impacted by the disease.
While cancer has unfortunately impacted many within the Tech Credit Union family, the team rallied together to raise awareness and to create a community for everyone dealing with this difficult journey.
“Cancer has affected all of us in one way or another,” said Vice President of Lending Jill Sandilla. “It has affected somebody we know. It has affected a lot of our employees. It has affected a lot of our employees' families. It means something to each one of us, and it hits home for everybody. Everybody has been able to participate in one way, shape, or form. This walk itself culminates the last three months where we have all done a lot of walking and steps for better health and wellness for ourselves and our employees.”
The walk was timed down to the very minute to represent a day in the life of a cancer patient.
“This is a 24-minute walk, which represents 24 hours in the life of a cancer patient,” said Assistant Vice President of Lending Jamie Wolfe. “Each minute we walk represents one hour because a cancer patient can't just turn cancer off when they go home. They live with it 24/7, so this is our way of showing our support for them, American Cancer Society, and everyone who's fought or is fighting cancer.”
Sandilla and Wolfe both have people close to them who have battled cancer, and this walk was a way for them both to honor their loved ones.
“Someone who is very near and dear to me was recently diagnosed, and this is just another way of supporting her and showing her that we are there for her no matter what,” Wolfe said.
“Both my mother and my mother-in-law are survivors,” Sandilla said. “My father's a survivor, and one of my best friends lost her son at the age of 15 a couple of years ago. It’s hard, but you know what? You just hope that someday they find a cure.”
The inspiration to host this walk came from a walk the credit union held over the summer called Tech Trek. Participants had the opportunity to record steps/miles on their own, that were then used to virtually track a trip from its La Porte, Ind. location to the Crest Hill, Ill. location.
“Unfortunately, we could not actually find a date to participate in Relay for Life, so this walk came about at the end of the Tech Trek and we were doing it here because it was a way to do our own walk,” Sandilla said.
“Actually, the Cancer Society is the one that said, ‘we have this 24-minute walk that a lot of companies have done that cannot participate in Relay for Life,’” Wolfe said. “In one of our committee meetings, we started talking about it, and our president was all for it, so we just decided to go for it.”
Proceeds for this walk were raised from the sale of luminaries, online donations, and a donation from Tech Credit Union, and all money raised will go to the American Cancer Society. An expected total of over $2,000 will be donated.
For more information on Tech Credit Union, visit techcu.org.