Coming Together by Volunteering as a Family at The Kidney Walk

By March 13, 2019December 9th, 2020Volunteerism Well-being
Briana and the Cunninghams, posing while volunteering at the Kidney Walk.

Briana and her family pose for a picture with Rocky Bluewinkle while volunteering at the Wilmington Kidney Walk hosted by the National Kidney Foundation

Growing up, my family taught me the importance of giving back, and it always stuck with me. So, when I started working at Independence Blue Cross last February, I was thrilled to discover that volunteering is an integral part of the company culture. I was even more excited to learn that my new role involved me working closely with our corporate volunteer program, the Blue Crew.

After participating in several volunteer projects during my first few months, I felt ready to lead one of my own. I kept my eye out for a project that resonated with me and eventually came across The Kidney Walk, hosted by the National Kidney Foundation. It was the perfect project for me to lead!

A Personal Connection

The National Kidney Foundation is near and dear to my heart — my aunt is a two-time kidney recipient, and my uncle was one of her donors. When I came across this project, I signed up immediately and got to work recruiting volunteers. Unfortunately, due to a number of other volunteer projects, few Blue Crew members were able to participate.

As a first-time Blue Crew project lead, I was determined to succeed, and that meant showing up with the number of volunteers that I promised. So, I called on the one person who I knew could help in this situation: my mom! After bringing her on board, she suggested that I invite our other family members as well. At first, I only asked a few, but word spread quickly! Before I knew it, I started receiving inquiries from aunts, uncles, and cousins who were just as eager to support the National Kidney Foundation. In the end, I had assembled a team of 12 volunteers, ready to turn their passion into action!

On the day of the walk, our role as volunteers was to help set up the event space, support the pre-walk programming, cheer the walkers on with pom-poms and cowbells, and assist with break-down. Despite the early morning start time, everyone was energized, smiling, and ready to help. We had a great time chatting with the walkers and running from one spot on the course to another to cheer the participants on. We kept them motivated until the moment they crossed the finish line!

But my favorite part of the day was watching my aunt distribute sashes to all the kidney donors and recipients. It was heartwarming to see the personal connection she formed with them as they swapped stories about their experiences. She loved every minute of it and was so thankful for the opportunity.

Volunteering for an Unforgettable Experience

While volunteering with the Blue Crew is always fun, participating in this project with my family was an experience I will never forget. Coming together by volunteering as a family helped us bond, share some laughs, and have a lot of fun — all for a great cause! The best part was when my younger cousin asked if she could volunteer with me again. What’s better than that?

I hope to inspire more people to volunteer and help spark a passion for giving back. Have you volunteered with your family yet? If not, maybe it’s time to give it a try!

 

Briana Cunningham

About Briana Cunningham

Briana is a Public Affairs Coordinator at Independence Blue Cross and enjoys working with both the IBC Foundation and the Blue Crew, the company’s corporate volunteer program. A graduate of Hofstra University, she is now a resident of the beautiful city of Philadelphia, which she spends her weekends exploring. In her free time, she is a Zumba instructor, a dancer for the Philadelphia Soul, and a proud cat mom.