Melissa Mitchell and her daughter Katie Mitchell in a recent photo at a restaurant
By Your Edge Blog Team | July 22, 2019

Extraordinary Giving, the Zebra Way

Long-time Customer Talks About the Personal Impact of Zebra’s CSR Program

As you might have noticed by reading the stories on Your Edge so far this year, Zebras are doing some incredible things! Not just from a business perspective, either.

We go above and beyond to support our customers, partners, communities and each other any way we can, and we take Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) very personally.

This June, the Zebra Community Relations team put out a call to action: Let's Fight Childhood Cancer, Together, they said! And, of course, Zebras jumped – really, rode – into action by joining the Great Cycle Challenge.

In a short 30 days, 82 Zebras pedaled over 12,740 miles to raise more than $35,000 for childhood cancer. (Our goal was $25,000.) We finished as the #1 corporate team in the United States!

Why We Chose to Participate in the Great Cycle Challenge

As Zebra Learning Advisor Bruce Henderson explains it, the Great Cycle Challenge is unique. Unlike other charity rides, the Great Cycle Challenge allows anyone to ride, at any time, on any type of bike (indoors or outdoors) during the challenge period. And each rider sets his or her own mileage and fundraising goals. This gave all Zebras from across North America the rare opportunity to come together in support of a common cause: to raise funds for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund out of the University of Minnesota. 

What Inspired Us to Push Harder and Rider Further, Despite Adversities

It takes great motivation to excel at such a challenge, especially given the rain and rugged climates that many riders endured along the way. And though each Zebra had his or her own personal source of inspiration, there were two people who encouraged all of us to fight through the physical and mental challenges: Melissa Mitchell and her daughter Katie, a childhood cancer survivor.

Melissa is a long-time Zebra customer, and well known by many in the Zebra community – including Ed Tonkon, Vice President and General Manager of Zebra Retail Solutions. As Ed shared with us recently, Melissa became very involved with the Great Cycle Challenge from the moment her daughter was diagnosed with cancer more than 10 years ago. When Melissa heard about Zebra's efforts to fight childhood cancer through the 2019 Great Cycle Challenge, she was moved to share a few powerfully inspiring words:

It is always amazing to me when people give of themselves to benefit others, especially when they may never even meet those whom they are helping. To give of your time and resources for a kid you may never know, a face you may never see, is really amazing. The truth is they could be your neighbors' kids, your co-worker's kids, or in this case, your customer's kid.

Had Katie been diagnosed with leukemia in the '60s when I was a kid, the outcome could have been very, very different. The reason for this difference is research, funded by people like all of you. 

It is a noble heart that pushes a peddle around thousands of times with the interest of others in mind. Just know that for every minute that you push yourselves on a bike, there is a kid making the same effort just to walk across the hospital room while they are undergoing chemo and or radiation. 

For every bike you ride, there are hundreds of miles of hospital corridor paced by parents like James and I, and siblings like Matthew and Zack, waiting for results and information on their child and sibling. You ride today so these kids have a chance to skip into tomorrow.

The kids you help by fundraising this month may never have the chance to know who you are and thank you in person, so please allow me to say, from the bottom of a mother’s heart, how grateful I am for people like each of you.

Children like Katie – and life-saving care such as the Mitchell family was fortunate enough to receive – are the reason why Team Zebra will always go the extra mile (or 12,000+ miles)!

The Children’s Cancer Research Fund is intensely focused on finding treatments for childhood cancers that have fewer long-term side effects on a child. It also provides support for programs that assist the parents and siblings of the children fighting cancer, among other related activities.

At Zebra, we believe that increasing our ride duration or intensity for four weeks is the least we can do to make sure children like Katie are able to enjoy a long life – and a better quality of life – after their treatments are complete.

As Zebra Transportation & Logistics Field Marketer John Panek explained when asked why he joined Team Zebra for the Great Cycle Challenge: “We have much to be thankful for and we are blessed to have this opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of some young people and their families.”


We want to know…

Have you or someone you know been touched by the Great Cycle Challenge? Or other similar efforts?  Share your story with us in the comment box below.

Then, take a few minutes to read about other ways that Zebra that is giving back:

Corporate Social Responsibility, Inside Zebra Nation,
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