On January 6, 2016, I quit my job. It was a place where I had worked for 15 years. Basically, my entire professional career. But, I knew that my core values of family and relationships weren’t aligned with me traveling 40k miles a month. I was scared, actually TERRIFIED, to sit down with my boss to tell him I was leaving. I wasn’t sure how he was going to react, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next, but I showed up and I did it. Shaky hands and all.
The very next day, on January 7, 2016, Steve and Savanna Tate (friends and my next door neighbors), nine month old baby boy (and a triplet) was diagnosed with a very rare brain cancer. A diagnosis that required emergency surgery and six rounds of chemo. They had five other kids at home. Their older three were 4, 7, and 9 and the other two triplets (a boy and girl) were nine months old.
I felt helpless. I had never had someone so close to me deal with a diagnosis like this for their child. I didn’t know what to do so I instantly just starting doing the same thing I had for the past 15 years at my corporate job. I started a hashtag campaign. I planned a big event and I rallied the troops.
But this time, the event was not for a big corporation or for a ski resort. This time the event was to help a family know they weren’t alone in the fight for their baby’s life. #HayesTough became the mantra for supporting this family and the HayesTough 5k Run was born.
Over the next six weeks I used my strengths of organizing and activating a community. The community, an army, came together to organize and run a 5k fun run and celebrate the triplets first birthday with a carnival themed-party. Over a thousand people showed up to show their support. The love from the community buoyed up this family in their time of need.
People in the neighborhood kept saying ‘You’re so good at this…” but to me, it’s just what I have always done. It was perfectly aligned with my skillset that I had acquired over the past 15 years in my corporate job.
Through the past year the Tate’s ability to share Hayes’s story, has lifted up a nation. That one event garnered so much support that the HayesTough Foundation was founded. In just its first few months of operation, the foundation has supported several families who are currently battling childhood cancer. The mission is to help these families know they are seen and supported. Funds raised go towards supporting families in making memories outside of the hospital. Comfort kits are sent to families in need!
Last month, at the Second Annual HayesTough 5k, we presented two families with a check for $5,000!
I could of never imagined that leaving my high-paying salary job would lead me to being a founding board member for a non-profit. Or that the excitement and pride I use to get for planning a ski event dims by comparison to the way my soul lights on fire when I see the good the HayesTough Foundation is doing for those in need.
What I have learned is your strengths and talents may be used in ways you could never imagine. Taking risks, being open to new journey’s and making that first step, will lead you to doors of opportunity that you never thought existed.
Savanna Tate (one of the founders of HayesTough Foundation) is speaking at our One-Day Workshop in Salt Lake City. Savanna will share her story of finding her strength through pain. There are only a handful of tickets left! Click here to purchase!