May Volunteers of the Month: Abbott Nutrition

We are proud to announce that nine volunteers who work for Abbott Nutrition are our May Volunteers of the Month. This dynamic group organized “ice cream socials” to encourage more of their associates to register for their company’s team. Together they helped 930 members register, the most in Abbott’s history!

Kim Riggs (right), captain of the Ross Park Team and Rita Welsh, who passed away several years ago after heading the Abbott team.
Kim Riggs (right), captain of the Ross Park Team and Rita Welsh, who passed away several years ago after heading the Abbott team.

Congratulations to Brenda Betts, Jennifer Brookover, Jacqueline Craine, Kristen Manivilovski, Monica McGue, Kimberly Riggs, Jill Snyder, Christina Warga and Traci Wertz!

Here are the reasons why they got involved, in their own words.

Kim Riggs
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?

I was fortunate enough to be very close with friend and peer, Rita Welsh. She lost the battle to this awful disease in November 2012. Knowing her changed my attitude about life in general – it’s precious, no matter what cards you are dealt. Her strength through even her darkest days was astounding. She was passionate about her company and vigilant about finding the cure. Her story touched everyone – her reach still does. I chose to honor Rita by taking over her role as the Team Abbott Captain.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
The best part is being present on race day. At that point, I am no longer a volunteer, but one of thousands who band together to support this important organization. I get to have conversations with folks who have no idea who I am and vice versa. The community that bands together is truly awe-inspiring. I run around with constant goose bumps. Sad for those we have lost, but excited for those we can help.

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why?
My mother is a 14-year survivor. We walked together in 2014, her first time in several years. She was a Thunder Alley virgin – this is the stretch of road where the HUGE motorcycle crew revs their bike engines upon to honor the survivors wearing their pink t-shirts. Again with the goose bumps! My mother’s exclamation and sheer joy during Thunder Alley was priceless – there aren’t words. I’ll never forget it.

Christine Trace
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?
Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
Knowing that it is helping so many people and being able to recognize those that are survivors. Spread the word!!

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus?
It would be my very first race and every other race when you go down one of the hills on the course an all you can see is a sea of pink.  It means a lot just knowing that I’m taking part of something that makes a difference in someone’s life that day and hopefully many more by the funds raised.

Jennifer Brookover
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?Rita Welsh inspired me to become involved with Komen.  I began working with Rita my first day at Abbott 28 years ago.  To know Rita, was to love Rita.  Words cannot describe this woman.  Rita lived life the way we all should live it, to the fullest.  Rita’s drive and passion for Komen came as a result of her diagnosis with Cancer.  She battled cancer for several years and lost the battle 2+ years ago.  During her battle with cancer, Rita inspired and challenged so many people to step up and help beat this terrible disease.  Though we lost this precious person, we cannot stop fighting.  We have to carry on for her and every other person who is fighting the same battle now or will fight the battle.  That’s what she would have wanted.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
My favorite part of volunteering for Komen is two-fold:  First, having the opportunity to become involved with Abbott employees and encourage them to participate in such a worthy cause and secondly, the early morning hours setting up our expo tent being downtown.  The streets are so quiet.  It’s a time to reflect on all that you have done to prepare for what’s to come, the crowd, the CURE!!!!!

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why?
My most memorable event was 3 years ago.  Each year as tradition our family walks the 5K.  However, this year my 11-year-old niece Mackinley had a broken growth plate in her foot and was wearing a walking boot.  She was adamant she was going to walk and nothing was going to stop her.  Her doctor cautioned her but released her to walk.  Because she walked the entire 5K, my 2 year old nephew Connor walked along beside her rather than riding in his wagon.  Mackinley finished the race, but did end up wearing a full cast the rest of the summer.  Needless to say, we were very proud of both of them and their commitment to the race and the cause at such young ages.

Kristen Manivilovski
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?
I have always enjoyed supporting the Race for the Cure, but now I have renewed interest as I lost my sister-in-law to a rare stomach cancer 3 years ago and my dad to mesothelioma 3 years ago as well.  My mom is currently battling pulmonary fibrosis which will eventually claim her life

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
The stories that I hear from our employees—you never know what people are going through

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why? 
The survivors that are participating in the walks/runs and the family/friends who are running in memory of a loved one.  Just seeing those individuals staying strong makes me want to stay strong

Christina Warga
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?
My best friend Kim, who was able to participate as a survivor before ultimately losing her battle in January 2011. She was 45.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus? 
I love to see the Abbott community come together for a great cause! Handing out t-shirts before the race is my favorite part of volunteering. Everyone is so excited to see the Abbott team shirt and to share their experience of previous race days.

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why?
Walking with my friend Kim and cheering her on during the survivor ceremony. I’ll never forget that day.

My family and friends continue to walk in Kim’s honor and our circle of friends and family grows each year. We all meet at Tommy’s Diner after the race – always a fun day of remembrance and hope.

Jill Snyder
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?
My mother, Jacquelyn Klimek, is a two-time breast cancer survivor.  I wanted to do something to honor her battle.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
My favorite part about volunteering is that it’s something I can do to directly impact the fight against breast cancer.  It’s one day that raises funds, bring awareness to the battle, and celebrates the lives of those who have both succumbed to and survived this terrible disease.

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why?
The Remembrance Wall is really something to see.  I’m most anxious to witness the Thunder Tunnel – it’s also a one-of- kind experience.

Monica McGue
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?
My sister-in-law, Natalie Guagenti, works for Komen.  I admire Natalie’s passion in her position of Director of Volunteers at Komen Columbus.  Natalie lost her mother to breast cancer, and her personal family tragedy  has translated into a dedication and passion in Natalie for her work for the Komen cause that is evident to anyone that comes in contact with her.  It was my privilege to volunteer that day with both you and Kim; the event produced a lot of energy and interest.  My mom, my mother-in-law and my lifelong best friend have all had breast cancer, so when Natalie asked me to volunteer at the ice cream social, my answer was an easy YES!

 

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