By Julie Baumgartner, Senior Director, Strategic Accounts
|At Kontera, I’m usually out meeting with publishers, but when I’m in San Francisco, I donate my time to a non-profit called Shanti. I got involved when my friend, Maria, became the Director of Shanti’s LifeLines Breast Cancer Program. Maria was matched with a client, and I was moved to tears every time she told me about their weekly meetings, and how she was the only interaction her client had with anyone other than her doctors.|
The client did not speak English, and her family lived out of state, so if it were not for Maria, this woman would have had no one to support her during her battle with breast cancer.
In February, I joined the Board of Directors of Shanti – right after a friend was diagnosed with Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer at the age of 32. Denise just moved to Hawaii to be with her family, as she goes through a second round of chemotherapy. Gee Gee, another friend’s mother, was also diagnosed with breast cancer this Summer. Gee Gee’s daughter relocated to Arizona almost immediately to be with her mom. Whenever I reflect on what these women are going through, with friends and family rallying beside them, I cannot help but also think about Shanti’s clients, many of whom would be absolutely alone if it weren’t for LifeLines. According to the statistics, 1 in 8 U.S. women (12.5%) will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It’s gut-wrenching.
Shanti enhances the quality of life, health and well being of people living with life-threatening illnesses. Each year, they work with over 2,000 men and women facing the challenges of breast cancer or HIV/AIDS. In many cases, Shanti is the one compassionate, loving presence for their clients during their greatest time of need. Shanti’s 35th anniversary is this year, so please visit our website (www.shanti.org) to learn more!
Plus, other Kontera employees are also working with local non-profits. Bryan Everett, EVP Strategic Development, was a table host at a breakfast for The Arc, which helps people with developmental disabilities lead a self-sufficient lifestyle. Leilani Sanchez is a Board Member of Streetside Stories, which is focused on literacy and arts programs for Bay Area schools. As a company, Kontera sponsored a family for Christmas last year through Compass Community Services, and earlier this year, we volunteered at the San Francisco Food Bank.
As the world debates the merits of President Obama winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, I am reminded of someone who was nominated for the award five times, but never selected. In the inspirational words of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”