On October 20, a team from HNM participated in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in San Diego. This was HNM’s first year participating in this particular event. Making Strides is the largest network of breast cancer events in the nation, raising funds to support the American Cancer Society’s work to advance breast cancer research and provide patient services.
HNM’s core value of being “Relentlessly People Driven” means the leadership and employees consider the impact of everything they do, not only on the people they work with but also in the world around them.
The Society for Human Resource Management says, “Companies that are socially responsible and strong advocates of community involvement have higher levels of engagement than companies that are not actively supporting their communities. Research shows that demonstrating social responsibility in the community is a key driver of employee engagement.”
In business terms, this translates to a stronger bottom line, but for HNM, employee engagement has always been about the people before the results, so a cause important to one becomes a cause important to everyone. The ability for employees to support a cause of their choosing, close to their own hearts, is actually shown to increase participation.
Causes that affect the community have always been close to President and CEO Heather Moyer and her team’s hearts, but breast cancer in particular, has had an impact especially close to home. Emily Howe, Head of People Operations, SPHR, says that the HNM family has a few employees in the home office personally impacted by the disease and are connected to even more who are in recovery or even who lost in the fight. “We wanted to partner with an organization that brings people together to support a great mission and are excited to participate in the walk and about our fundraising efforts.”
To get ready for walk day, the team incorporated fitness challenges into their day-to-day lives. After meetings, for example, the team would do squats together to build up strength and unity. They even invited friends and family to join them on the day of the event to make it a community effort, even within their own team. An HNM employee’s sister works for Making Strides, so the team enjoyed participating in a great cause while also supporting her in this way.
For the local 2.5-mile Fun Walk, the 12-member team raised $4,193, which includes $1,000 from a supplier. HNM matched this amount, dollar for dollar, raising the grand total to $8,386. Altogether, donations from customers, suppliers, and employees will help fund life-saving research and support programs for this very common and life-threatening disease, estimated to affect 1 in 8 women in the United States with a positive diagnosis in an 80-year life span.
As the team came together and began individual fundraising efforts, the company stood behind their efforts reaching out to colleagues and raising awareness on social media.
Getting Behind a Far-Reaching Cause
Making Strides supports breast cancer patients in a holistic way, funding innovative research as well as helping patients, survivors, and caregivers navigate the new realities of their lives with free rides to chemotherapy appointments, free places to stay near treatment, and a live 24/7 cancer helpline.
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2019 alone, an estimated 271,270 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed and approximately 62,930 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed in women (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
The silver lining is that “62% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage, for which the 5-year survival rate is 99%,” says the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc, leading to the community of more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
But unfortunately, though the incidence rates have started to decline, the need for care and support by breast cancer patients and caregivers is still great. Breastcancer.org estimates “In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.”
The HNM team acknowledges that these numbers mean that most will be touched by a victim of breast cancer at some point in their lives, making education, research, and support critical to the health of every community.