As you probably already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Here at Shari’s Berries, this cause is near and dear to our hearts. For us it’s more than just pink berries. It’s about changing the lives of our community members and co-workers.
Originally founded for the 2002 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, our company‘s team has now reached more than 150 volunteers dedicated to helping Komen save lives and end breast cancer forever. Since 1982, Komen has invested more than $1 Billion in breast cancer research. Each year, employees from Shari’s Berries and our sister brands at Provide Commerce join to form “Team ProFlowers.” We organize raffles, potluck lunches, auctions and even haunted houses to raise funds and help support the search for a cure. And Team ProFlowers is proud to be the number one corporate fundraising team in San Diego for the past eight years in a row, raising more than $325,000 to date. In addition, we donate 10% of the sales from our Pink Ribbon Collection cookies and dipped strawberries to Komen for the Cure, year ‘round. As a result, we are San Diego’s first million dollar Komen Council Member.
Our passionate team members have an especially personal stake in the cause. “Most team members have been touched by breast cancer through co-workers or friends and family,” says Erica Rourke, a co-captain along with Robin Marella and Kelli Chessman. “It is a very real disease to us, and one that we would like to eradicate. All of the captains have been affected by breast cancer, and Robin is a survivor herself.”
“One of the most motivating things” adds Erica Rourke “is knowing that what we do makes a difference. Every year I go to the Grants Awards Ceremony and see the amazing organizations that our donations fund. It’s inspiring to see how many people in our community are helped by our fundraising and all of Komen’s efforts throughout the year. I first started co-captaining with Robin shortly after she and my mother both had mastectomies and treatment for breast cancer. When it happened I knew so little about breast cancer and the resources available to individuals diagnosed with cancer, many of which are made possible through the tireless work of organizations like Komen. Volunteering has helped me understand the impact of breast cancer in our community and the impact individuals can have to help improve the lives of those affected by it. There are so many people at our company with similar stories, who are passionate about making a difference. Their energy makes every October new and exciting.”
Says Kelli, “My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 12. I saw firsthand the toll it took on her and our family. She missed many of my sister’s and my games and events and was unable to help us with school projects. That time lost was the most difficult for her. Fortunately for us, she made it through and is truly a survivor! She now lives every day to the fullest and is passionate about everything she chooses to do. I volunteer for Komen to feel that same passion and to inspire and empower people to contribute to a good cause in any way they can. I hope the money we raise will allow other families to come out on the other side of breast cancer with hope and energy and joy, the way my family was able to do. I feel fulfilled when my time is being spent in service of others and creating a community with my co-workers. I truly believe that is what life is all about.”