Cie Pace first encountered the Greater Illinois Chapter by chance, but a weekend spent volunteering at Bike MS 2005 was enough to get her hooked. At the time, she did not know anyone living with MS, but she was a regular on the volunteer circuit, helping out with the American Brain Tumor Association, the Edward Hines VA, and many other organizations. When Cie’s employer, Xerox Corporation, organized a group to serve as rest stop workers for Bike MS, she gladly joined in. She hasn’t missed a weekend since.
“It was a fantastic experience, and it gave me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment,” she said. “I love giving back and supporting my community, and so I have continued my participation by becoming a rest stop captain for every Tour de Farms weekend since.”
Cie’s commitment to the Society does not stop there. She is currently on the Northwest Suburbs Walk MS committee, serving as the volunteer lead. At work, she has coordinated with co-workers to implement many fundraising events in the workplace, including bake sales, smoothie sales, and the creation and sale of a 300-page cookbook with employees’ favorite recipes. In addition, Cie created the “Hot Dog Combo Lunch Day,” an annual workplace event featuring a picnic lunch and raffle. Raffle prizes are donated by co-workers and community sponsors who Cie contacts herself, many months before the event.
“I wanted to do more, so I approached the Xerox Community Involvement Program leader about fundraising at work,” she said. “They were eager to help make it happen, and we’ve raised a couple thousand dollars over the past few years. This success can be attributed entirely to my fantastic coworkers, who support the Society so much with their money and their time!”
While Cie finds satisfaction in giving her own time and energy as a volunteer, she is happiest when she can teach others to do the same. “Cie’s Family and Friends,” as she calls it, is a group of relatives, friends, and co-workers that volunteer with her at Bike MS every year.
“I have nieces and nephews that started volunteering with me at age four or five, helping with a PB&J assembly line making sandwiches for the bikers,” she said. “Now, they’ve dedicated themselves to more and more service projects – they’re always giving back. My grandma taught me that you have to open your heart to others if you want to see how truly blessed you are. Now, I get to pass along that message.”