In the 1950s, children diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) were not expected to live past elementary school. Today, with the help of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, many people with the disease live well into their 30s. Driven by the ultimate goal of finding a cure, Choate Construction has been committed to supporting the foundation’s research and outreach efforts for the past 24 years.
With offices in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, one way Choate Construction employees get involved is through Great Strides, a national organized walk and fundraiser. Leading up to the walk, the company creates an internal competition by dividing employees into teams to see who can raise the most money. Each week, facts and other information about CF and the foundation are distributed to employees to increase awareness.
This year, Choate Construction raised nearly $94,000 through the Great Strides event.
“This company is built around the community, so strengthening the community in return strengthens the company,” says Emily Bridges, marketing director for Choate Construction. “If you make community outreach fun and interesting, it becomes more than just raising money; it becomes part of your culture.”
Another major event hosted by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the Xtreme Hike, a fundraising opportunity in which participants trek 30.1 miles in just one day.
Seven Choate Construction employees participated in the hike along the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, spending three months prior to the event training and fundraising. Friends, family, coworkers and other companies within the construction industry supported the hikers with donations, and teams were stationed every 10 miles on the trail to restock the hikers’ backpacks with food and drinks.
Adam Hawthorne, one of Choate’s hikers, hopes a cure will be found for his close friend and the rest of the 30,000 Americans who live with this disease. “It’s rare to find an organization willing to support each individual,” Hawthorne says. “That philosophy has been part of what retains quality employees and plants the seeds of loyalty within each of us.”
The company’s Xtreme Hike team raised $44,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, including $10,000 from Choate Construction—making it the number one contributor in North Carolina.
Choate Construction organizes events such as clay shoots and a car show throughout the year. The company also supports CF families that cannot afford holiday gifts due to the expense of treatment.
Additionally, the company chooses one child with CF who employees keep in touch with throughout the year to gain a better understanding of how the disease affects children and their families.
“You want to spend your time supporting a cause that means something to you,” Bridges says. “Not everyone has a personal connection to CF, so we give them one to help them understand the disease and what they are supporting.”
With the advancements that have been made through the foundation, Choate Construction believes finding a cure is within reach, and it’s committed to spreading awareness and supporting the cause until CF is a disease of the past.