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Sam’s Club Heroes of Hope campaign raises over $1M

When Jason McClelland, senior executive director, Missouri Area, started with ACS over 16 years ago, he kept in touch with his former co-workers at Walmart Stores Inc., who now are executive leaders within the company.

Last year, a former co-worker from Walmart reached out and asked how Sam’s Club could partner with the Society to honor a beloved Sam’s Club leader who was battling cancer, and later passed away. Jason contacted Kelsey German, strategic director Field Corporate Strategy; Alex Boehm, program manager, Corporate Account Operations, Missouri Area; Kevin Kann, director in Iowa; and Paul Purdy, strategic director, Endurance Events and Network Fundraising, to brainstorm a meaningful opportunity. As a result, this team customized a virtual experience that worked for Sam’s Club and provided them with an exceptional tool for a national Heroes of Hope campaign.  

Over the course of three weeks, Sam’s Club associates participated in this nationwide online activity-tracking and fundraising challenge in memory of friend and colleague, Dan Anderson. Sam’s Club encouraged all associates to honor Dan’s legacy and his courageous battle with cancer by participating in this virtual campaign, which challenged teams to venture on a 587-mile journey beginning in St. Louis, near Dan’s hometown, all the way to Heinz Field, home of Dan’s beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. Nearly 73,000 miles were logged over the duration of the challenge. 

The associates raised $1.2 million for the American Cancer Society, with much of the funds investing in a melanoma cancer research project that aligned with the type of cancer that Dan had. Associates helped raise over $1 million dollars by selling water and candy in Sam's Club stores.

A check presentation was held at the new World Wide Technology American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in St. Louis. Nearly 30 Sam’s Club leaders were in attendance to present the Anderson Family with the news of their final fundraising total, as well as revealing the naming rights of the “Dan Anderson” fireplace at the newly renovated Hope Lodge. Pictured above, from left, are: Joe Koening, president of World Wide Technology & chair of CEOs Against Cancer Chapter – St. Louis; Jason McClelland, senior executive director – Missouri, Sherry Anderson, wife of Dan Anderson, Brianna & Madden Anderson, children of Dan & Sherry Anderson.

Sam’s Club has agreed to host the nationwide Heroes of Hope campaign again in 2022.

This opportunity was a true volunteer-staff collaboration. Thank you to the entire Sam’s Club team for helping to ensure our vital research continues.

In the words of the late Helen Walton, wife of Sam's Club and Walmart founder Sam Walton: “It is not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.”

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