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Employee volunteers: Making an impact

In communities around the world, Cardinal Health employees have a passion for giving back. Through the Cardinal Health Foundation, they are inspired and empowered to participate in community service, and they do so with generosity, supporting a wide array of charitable organizations in myriad ways.

“Cardinal Health is a mission-driven company, and our employees are united in wanting to make a difference in the world,” said Jessie Cannon, vice president of Community Relations. “Volunteering is such a powerful and fulfilling way to do that, because you often get to see and meet the folks you are helping.”

Here, we shine a spotlight on three long-term volunteers who make an impact every year, volunteering and fundraising for nonprofit organizations that help improve health outcomes and that Cardinal Health also supports: the American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Pelotonia.

American Heart Association Heart Walk: Walking toward a healthier heart

Dhivya Himalaya, IT manager in the Medical Segment

“My dad has had heart surgery; my grandfather had a serious heart attack,” Himalaya said. “So, when I joined a colleague’s Heart Walk team in Columbus, Ohio, several years ago, I realized I’d found a cause that was a really good fit for me.”

Every year, participants in more than 300 Heart Walks across the U.S. raise funds to help save lives from the country’s number one and number five killers, heart disease and stroke, respectively.

Himalaya, shown above with her Heart Walk team, was moved by the size of that first event, she said. “I was awestruck by the hundreds and hundreds of walkers, many of them survivors of heart attack or stroke, all coming together to raise money for heart research and education.”

This year, her Heart Walk team, who call themselves GladEaters (“we all really love to eat,” she said) raised more than $10,000 for the AHA. “We worked with a local restaurant owner, who agreed to donate a significant percentage of a dinner’s proceeds; we had an online raffle and an online bingo game; and we did a lot of outreach to friends, family and colleagues.”

A bonus for Himalaya and her team: fundraising and walking together gave them new ways to connect. “We met each other’s families, and spent a lot of time collaborating to support a cause that has a great impact on many people,” she said.

Money from AHA fundraising programs is invested locally and around the world. In Central Ohio, for example, the AHA has partnered with community health centers to educate low-income people to better manage hypertension and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Nationally, the AHA has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to invest in Health Resources and Service Administration-funded health centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers, to improve the quality of care and education for low-income patients with hypertension.

Helping families battle their children’s illnesses: Ronald McDonald House Charities

Randy Cook, director of Human Resources operations

Cook has been an active volunteer with the Central Ohio Ronald McDonald House for more than 10 years. It started, he said, when a colleague recruited him to help prepare and serve a meal to the families staying there. “These families have children who are seriously ill and in treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital or other local hospitals. They’re dealing with incredible stress; Ronald McDonald Houses help alleviate a little bit of that stress. I was and am very happy to help support that.”

Cook leads all employee engagement with the Ronald McDonald House in Central Ohio and has built a large, dedicated team of active volunteers who staff the organization’s annual fundraising events, including a golf outing, a 5K walk/run, and a noteworthy bake sale that raises as much as $40,000 a year. Cook also helps recruit and organize colleagues to provide and serve meals to the families staying at Ronald McDonald House.

“I can’t say enough about how great the organization is,” he said. “Its mission, the staff and the families are all wonderful. By now, I almost feel like a part of the Ronald McDonald House team – and I’m really proud to say that.”

At Ronald McDonald Houses, families with ill children stay in comfort, with private bedrooms and baths, playrooms for siblings and home-cooked meals. They stay at no cost, or are asked to make a donation of up to $25 a day, depending on the house. (Donations cover the rest of the cost.) Currently, there are more than 360 Ronald McDonald House programs in 64 countries.

Biking to beat cancer: Pelotonia

Ron Brown, VP of manufacturing management in the Medical Segment

Each year, hundreds of Cardinal Health employees ride their bicycles, volunteer or find other ways to participate in Pelotonia, in order to raise funds for life-saving cancer research at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University (the James).

Cardinal Health has supported Pelotonia from its inception in 2008, and Ron Brown has biked in the event each year. “Cancer touches just about everyone in one way or another,” Brown said. “It’s a devastating disease that doesn’t discriminate. By riding in Pelotonia, I hope to help make cancer less devastating in the future.” This year, Brown raised nearly $8,000 for Pelotonia.

Brown also serves on Cardinal Health’s internal Pelotonia steering committee, which helps recruit riders and volunteers and hosts group fundraisers. Pelotonia has become a family affair for him: His daughter rides and fundraises – together they have a list of some 300 past donors. Brown’s wife, son, sister and niece all volunteer at the event.

“Every year, hundreds of cancer survivors and friends and families of survivors come out to cheer riders on. There’s an older gentleman who stands at mile 80, clapping and thanking us for saving his wife. It’s just so powerful.”

100% of the funds that Brown and other participants raise for Pelotonia go toward cancer research, which is helping to enhance treatments and therapies, advance immuno-oncology, and develop prevention and early detection.

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