In January, more than 10 Yamaha staff members and friends completed one of the two races and more than 100 individuals made donations. This month, Yamaha Cares and KatrinaKures presented CHOC Children’s with a check for $15,640, bringing the grand total of overall donations from this annual event to more than $110,000.
"This fundraising effort keeps getting bigger and better each year," says David Jewell, marketing communications manager, Yamaha Corporation of America. "The money we raise has no strings attached and 100 percent of it goes directly to research, which we hope will one day lead to a cure for this disease."
Jewell is personally invested in the cause; his daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 juvenile diabetes when she was just 13. "I wanted to do something grassroots to raise money for research," he says. "I’m a runner, so I asked my running pals and some industry people to join me in the race and they have been with me ever since."
He recalled an Orange County Register story about their fundraising effort while Katrina, who had since graduated from University of California at Santa Cruz, was a volunteer at CHOC Children’s. "The CEO saw the article online, contacted Katrina and asked her to speak to doctors and their leadership team there about her journey. She had never done anything like that before, but she nailed it! As a result, she received a job offer to be a children’s phlebotomist at the hospital. Now she is a medical technologist overseeing 14 labs in the LA area."
For the third year, Jewell also ran a concurrent CrowdRise campaign, KatrinaKures, to encourage online donations. In addition, local merchants pitched in, most notably, The Corner Bakery in Anaheim Hills and Tempo Urban Kitchen in Brea, who donated the food for the post-race celebration. "I had more help this year than ever," Jewell says. "Everyone wanted to contribute. I took a day to solicit businesses in the area for silent auction items and we raised almost $1,000 with their donations!" The 10th Anniversary effort promises to reach new heights; Manheim Auction has agreed to raise funds for KatrinaKures this November and December.
Ninety guests attended the party at Jewell’s home after the race. "Last year, I had an iPod going, but was determined to have live music the next time around." He enlisted Chariya Bissonnette on vocals – her husband Matt plays with Elton John – who brought along a keyboard player, and Yamaha Pro Audio Product Marketing Manager Nithin Cherian, who helped tweak the PA system and played bass. "I played drums and my son Jesse sang. We sounded great—so great the police showed up and asked us to tone it down!"