Stewardship appears to come so naturally to Jeff Marker, RSM US LLP principal. It belies his harrowing personal story and the resounding effect it had with his colleagues, leading them to win a local corporate fundraising challenge bolstered by RSM’s Power of Love and Dollars for Doers, an employee grant given for hours spent volunteering. Jeff shares the powerful story here:
Working with charities, you learn a lot about people and really get to see the good in humanity. As an executive committee member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Light The Night walk in St. Louis, I was honored when they asked me if I would kick-off their 2022 fundraising campaign by sharing my story. During a breakfast event at a local hotel last spring, I told a room of approximately one hundred guests, twenty of which were my RSM co-workers, about my cancer journey.
As a young man of thirty with a wife and our first baby on the way, I received the news no one ever wants to hear, “you have cancer.” After a dizzying whirlwind of tests, biopsies and transfusions, doctors diagnosed me with APL: Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. They also gave me the grim detail that I had a 50% chance of survival.
Needless to say, the diagnosis was devastating to me and my family. But I was determined to fight back. Immediately I began chemotherapy treatments, including, at the time, the addition of an experimental drug called ATRA.
I am so fortunate that my story with cancer has a successful conclusion and even more fortunate to say I am in my 27th year of remission! And through these years I have been blessed with no long-term treatment side effects.
My RSM colleagues in St. Louis rallied in support of the 2022 Light The Night campaign and accepted the fundraising challenge. Austin Moser, Lisa Rains and Patrick Meadors chaired our Birdies Fore Love committee and led the local fundraising efforts. Through RSM’s Power of Love they secured volunteers, and we used our RSM volunteer day to help LLS pack up as they prepared to move their office. We also helped them prepare for upcoming events while writing thank you letters to their donors.
The campaign culminated in October with the Light The Night event where participants walked together, each carrying a colored lantern to represent the survivors of blood cancer or in memory of loved ones and friends they have lost to the disease. When I saw the leaderboard and RSM was listed in first place among all the corporate teams, raising $32,825.68, I couldn’t have felt prouder.
Because of organizations such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and their vital fundraising campaigns, we continue to see breakthroughs in research for cancer patients. That experimental drug I received 30 years ago, ATRA, is now the standard protocol for APL patients and its lifesaving treatment is giving patients a survival prognosis of 90%! To be honest, that is truly one of the best gifts you can offer anyone who is in the fight of their life against cancer – hope.
To find out how you can put your stewardship in action today, visit the RSM US Foundation.