13 Jun

If you go on Jeff Jones’ Relay for Life page you’ll see he answers the question “Why do I Relay?” Jeff, the vice president of Admiral Pest Control, openly admits that he’s been fighting cancer for quite a while.  “I have been told 3 times now I have cancer,” writes Jeff on his Relay for Life page, who was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma when he went in six years ago to have a lump examined. “Right now I am waiting to see if I will need surgery to remove my right arm and shoulder.  Not a fun position to be in.”

So it’s painfully obvious why Jeff participates in Relay for Life, but why do others do it?

I asked that question of Ron Heath, who has never had cancer, yet is consistently the top fundraiser for Team Admiral since the team started participating in Relay for Life five years ago.

“I don’t really know why I do it,” replied Ron, “other than it makes me feel good to help.” A termite inspector at Admiral Pest Control since 1998, Ron has a long and committed relationship with his customers, as well as his employer. “I like working here. The benefits are good, and they keep the equipment up to date. But more importantly, you’re treated well here. It’s a family-run business that cares about its people.  When Jeff got sick I wanted to do something to give back.”

As part of his fundraising efforts Ron started mentioning his Team Admiral involvement to his customers when he went on calls. “Even though our customers receive something about our Relay for Life team in the mail, I know people get busy and sometimes mail gets tossed,” says Ron. “I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask if they wanted to know more and possibly donate.” He makes it easy for his customers by having his own brochure for donations. But even so he doesn’t believe in the hard sell. “If they say no, that’s fine. I just thank them anyway and don’t bother them about it again.”

In this case, asking pays off. Ron says that every year, for the last five years, over 30% of his customers happily donate. Plus, he takes his mission to his church as well, where people equally eager to fight cancer help out with a wide range of donations.

All Ron’s hard work pays off, because every year Ron is consistently the top fundraiser for his team. When asked what’s his secret? He humbly replies, “I don’t know. I just ask people and they do it. The same people tend to donate, but the list grows a little every year. Plus, I have some relatives that like to help out, too.”

When asked one more time if he can be specific about what drives him to fund raise so diligently, he takes a second this time to think before he answers. “Well, it does make my job and my life more interesting to talk to people about this. But really I do it because it’s important and it just makes me feel good to help out. I can’t think of a better reason.”

This year Team Admiral’s Relay for Life fundraising goal is $15,000. They’ve already raised over $12,000 as of this writing. If you’d like to help Ron, Jeff, and the rest of Team Admiral exceed their fundraising goal, please go to the Team Admiral page on the Relay for Life website. All donations must be in by June 26. The Relay for Life event in Team Admiral’s hometown of Bellflower, CA, will be held on June 30, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. at Bellflower High School.  If you’re in the neighborhood at that time please stop by and cheer everyone on!

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