As the world’s largest employer, Walmart comprises approximately 2.3 million associates, with 1.5 million in the U.S. alone. No matter where or which employee, each takes pride in helping those in need in their communities.
Walmart’s recent campaign to support MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Boot Walk to End Cancer® exemplified this company-wide culture of helping others. Through several fundraising activities in April, May, June and July, more than 110 Walmart stores exceeded expectations, raising more than $1 million.
Walmart stores in Houston and throughout the region, including Galveston, Beaumont and College Station, collected change at every register, hosted in-store bake sales and organized fun activities to encourage customers to visit stores and donate. All funds raised for the Boot Walk support cancer research and patient programs at MD Anderson.
This is the second year Walmart has supported MD Anderson's Boot Walk. In 2017, the retail giant raised more than $290,000 at more than 60 stores. In addition, Walmart had a presence at the Boot Walk's finish-line party, distributing healthy snacks and water to participants.
"At Walmart, it gives us great joy to have raised more than $1 million throughout our Houston-area stores in order to join MD Anderson in giving cancer the boot," says Nick Berkeley, regional vice president operations. "I am grateful to our customers and associates, and proud to support an organization that shares our passion for helping people live better."
Walmart associates, who walked as a team and helped to refresh participants afterwards at the finish-line party, should take pride in their role in making a difference for patients and their families everywhere, says Pat Mulvey, MD Anderson’s vice president for Development.
"Because of Walmart’s support, our researchers possess more resources to identify better treatments that can help patients live longer lives and improve their quality of life," he says. "As a result, we can make an impact in every community — not just here in Houston but around the world."
Retired executive Eric Zorn has been a driving force in Walmart’s successful Boot Walk to End Cancer® campaign. This year, the former president of Walmart Realty and executive vice president of Wal-mart Stores Inc. set an example by making a significant contribution to the effort. But his commitment to MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer was born long before Walmart managers, associates and customers in Houston and surrounding areas began giving cancer the boot in 2017.
“My relationship with MD Anderson started about 20 years ago,” says Zorn, who served as a liaison between Walmart and the institution for years, helping associates access care and coordinating educational seminars on topics like skin cancer.
Zorn’s personal engagement with MD Anderson, however, goes beyond the business relationship. In 2003, he underwent a Whipple procedure and experienced MD Anderson’s high standards firsthand.
“It was a life-changing experience,” says Zorn, who became a member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV) in 2010. “It allowed me to truly appreciate and understand the quality care the hospital provides. My wife, Lois, and I were impressed by the entire staff and their kindness and respect for the individual.”
In 2006, when Eric’s mother-in-law, Betty Green, became a patient at MD Anderson, the couple witnessed the same level of care all over again, confirming their commitment to Making Cancer History®.
“Lois shares the same passion for MD Anderson and is as dedicated to the cause,” he says.
In his retirement, Zorn heads an international real estate consulting group. He gives back to MD Anderson not only through the Boot Walk to End Cancer, but also his almost decade-long service on the BOV. He’s been an active member of the Clinical Operations and Competitive Assessment Advisory Group since 2012 and this year begins his first term on the Executive Committee.
He says Walmart’s founder would be proud of the company’s enthusiastic support of the Boot Walk.
“Sam Walton always wanted his stores to give back regionally and to be a part of the community,” says Zorn. “It’s a reflection of Walmart’s culture. The company’s local grassroots efforts are legendary and it’s a part of their DNA. The entire team, led by Nick Berkeley, regional vice president operations, already is planning and strategizing how to make next year’s involvement even better.”