Today, we hosted our second annual RV Staircase Challenge – the most famous stair-climbing competition in Lancaster County – and every drop of sweat helped our friends at GiGi’s Playhouse. (Since 220 RVers climbed a whopping 10,800 flights of stairs, there were quite a few drops.)
Climbing for a Cause
Spoiler: the cause was not “bigger quads.” This year, 10 teams of Red Ventures employees in our Charlotte and Atlanta offices participated in the challenge. When it was all stepped and done, we raised more than $20k for GiGi’s Playhouse.
GiGi’s Playhouse strives to change the way the world views Down syndrome and send a global message of acceptance for all. To learn more about the powerful impact of GiGi’s mission, check out this letter from senior associate Enrique Questell Pereira.
The True Meaning of Running up Escalators
This year, I received the most beautiful gift of my life – the birth of my first daughter, Gianna Isabella. As a new parent, I was filled with happiness and ready to take on the unknown. However, right when she was born, we ran into the unexpected. At birth, Gianna Isabella was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
Before she was born, we thought about everything: where she would sleep, what she would get carried in, even what she would wear the first day. In all honesty, we weren’t familiar with the details of the genetic condition and how it impacts children. My first fear was that she wouldn’t be able to have a normal life – and that broke my heart.
To learn more, I began to research and I quickly realized that I had many incorrect misconceptions. For example, I worried that individuals with Down Syndrome couldn’t be independent or even go to college, but I found out that is not the case at all. Learning about all the possibilities Gianna DOES have gave me peace of mind and a desire to keep researching.
As part of my research, I came across a nonprofit called Gigi’s Playhouse, an organization that is working to change the status quo around Down Syndrome. Part of GiGi’s mission is to provide educational and therapeutic resources for free to all individuals with Down syndrome, with the goal of fulfilling every child’s potential and enlightening the life of their parents.
Only 4 days after the birth of Gianna, my family and I decided to visit the local Gigi’s Playhouse to fully understand the program. We were blown away with the facility and programming in place. We’ll never forget the moment we met Melissa, the Gigi’s Playhouse Charlotte coordinator, because her first words were filled with wisdom and hope. After hearing her story, we finally felt that everything was going to be just fine. Little did I know, while showing us the facilities, Melissa shared that one of the main reasons that they were able to open the Charlotte playhouse was because of a company called Red Ventures.
It was such an eye-opening experience, and at that very moment I felt extremely honored to be working for this company. I also remembered the stair climbing fundraising event that made all of this happen. In the event, close friends and coworkers – from both our Charlotte and Atlanta offices – pushed through flights and flights of stairs without knowing that they would impact my life and my family so directly.
This is what running up escalators and our bias to action really means – making a difference in the community, and empowering others to make a difference as well.