Sam's Club associates Cathy and James Krebs, Sr. and their sons Robert and James Jr. have made many life adjustments in their more than two decades together as a family. “My dad loves to dance and he was really terrific, going professional in his twenties and thirties,” recalls James Krebs Jr. “Today, though he doesn’t complain about it, his ability to dance is all but gone and that gets me and the rest of the family motivated to do something.”
As James Jr., a graduate student studying law, public policy and Arabic language and culture at California University of Pennsylvania, stresses, “Part of life is dealing with things that you can’t control or change.” Attitude, all of the Krebs agree, is key.
Sam’s Club has had a longstanding community-based relationship with the National MS Society, and the Krebs family was thrilled when it decided to expand its support by launching a nationwide grassroots fundraiser in 2011. Sam’s Club eventually raised $1.2 million for people in communities affected by multiple sclerosis through events like cookouts and lunches, bowl-a-thons and dodge ball tournaments.
Inspired by her “baby sister”
Angela Deo, a Sam’s Club associate in the San Fernando Valley area, says her younger sister, Wendy Liranzo, who lives with MS in the Dominican Republic, inspired her to motivate co-associates to create a number of unique fundraising opportunities. Her store raised nearly $8,000 this year.
Angela’s efforts weren’t confined to the Sam’s Club campaign: she also led a street team putting up posters around the community to encourage local businesses to support Walk MS. The National MS Society’s Southern California Chapter honored Angela with a 2013 Most Inspirational Award.
A “second family”
“I am fortunate to work for Sam’s Club,” says Lincoln, Neb., club manager Carissa Barbary, who has been a Sam’s Club associate for 15 years. Her husband, James, was diagnosed with MS five years ago in 2008. “When James and I were first going through all of his testing, I was scared, depressed and overwhelmed, but my ‘second family’ at Sam’s Club really helped me through a tough time.” Carissa says her fellow associates supported her emotionally and allowed her to take important time off to be with James, who often uses a cane and a service dog when going out, during a period heavy with medical appointments.
In 2013 Sam’s Club associates, including Carissa, the Krebs family and Angela Deo, raised $2 million in six short weeks. In addition to raising money for a cause that is close to home for all of them, these three families say they appreciated how the campaign brought awareness and knowledge about MS to their communities.
“We’ve learned over the years how much people really care about and rally behind people living with the disease,” James Krebs Jr. says. “This was a great way for us to start giving back.”