One of my favorite parts of working for Greystone Technology is their volunteer initiatives. Throughout the year, our staff is encouraged to volunteer for a cause or organization that we’re passionate about. I really enjoy volunteering and believe that it has the power to facilitate change, builds unity, and inspires empathy in those involved. There are several causes I devote my time and resources to and promoting heart health is at the top of the list. While heart disease and stroke are the number one cause of death in America, my pursuit of the issue is a little different but still hits close to home. My husband, Eric, has a congenital heart defect, one of the rarest to be born with, called Tetralogy of Fallot. This defect might sound familiar since it’s gotten some recent media spotlight from Jimmy Kimmel whose son was born with it about two months ago. One in every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect, yet there isn’t a lot of research done to understand the long-term care that’s required for people with one.

When my colleague, Steve, took the initiative to recruit volunteers for the American Heart Association’s annual Heart & Stroke Walk, I knew I wanted to participate. Steve has his own incredible story about his heart (read it here) and attending this event meant supporting my coworker, spouse, and the city of Denver to rally for a cause that has the power to change the course of our health.

During the event, I had several incredible conversations with survivors and participants who held torches in honor of loved ones. Another highlight was seeing my coworkers come together to support Steve while he participated as a survivor in the event.

“There were as many as 20,000 participants who showed up for the AHA heart walk. I was impressed with how active our greater community is in the fight against heart disease and stroke. As a survivor of two strokes, it was great to feel all the support and love from people who attended this event.” – Steve Rydalch

Kaati Ross, who is our Volunteer Time Off (VTO) Committee Chairman said, “Fifteen Greystone volunteers supported the AHA Heart & Stroke Walk for a combined total of 51.5 VTO hours. Volunteers participated in a pre-event administration task and, on the day of the walk, had a big presence at check-in and registration. We answered the question, how many IT guys does it take to register a single participant for a free walk? Answer: Three. More seriously, the event was a great opportunity for our teams to support an amazing cause and great people in our community, like our own Stephen Rydalch.”

Thanks to the generous donations of everyone involved, over $1.3 million dollars was raised for the American Heart Association. I’m encouraged by these efforts and hopeful for research projects and discoveries that will be made in the future for people with congenital heart defects.

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