Great Strides, Great Stories
Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fundraiser. Every year, families, donors and friends take steps to help support the search for a cure. In this section, we’ll feature a special person or team who played an integral role in Great Strides and within their local CF community. We hope you’ll find this story to be inspiring as we continue to make Great Strides in our efforts to find a cure for CF!
Meet Harris Markowitz: A Tomorrow's Leader making Great Strides, today!
When Harris Markowitz was asked to become involved in Great Strides to support his friend’s daughter, who was diagnosed with CF, he started a team with his then employer without a deep understanding of the disease. In his first year, not only did he learn a lot about what it means to live with cystic fibrosis, but as a team leader, he raised an impressive $10,000 and his involvement with the Foundation has only grown.
“As someone who did not have a direct connection to CF, one of the things I found to be successful in fundraising was utilizing my corporate connections,” Harris said. “One time I was sitting in my workplace cafeteria at a fundraising table for the Great Strides and a coworker who I’d never met stopped by and explained to me that her cousin had CF. We ended up chatting and she gave a substantial donation.”
Nine years later, Harris remains a Great Strides team leader, and has expanded his involvement with the Foundation by joining the National Council for the CF Foundation’s young professional group, Tomorrow’s Leaders. Tomorrow’s Leaders is designed to offer like-minded professionals leadership skills and networking opportunities while they make a difference in the lives of those with cystic fibrosis.
Harris believes that part of his fundraising success is because CF is a disease that, although rare, many people have heard about and are determined to defeat. To keep younger audiences engaged he has found value in adding activities to walk day and walking together as a team. “Our young professional group walks as one big family. We go above and beyond the walk itself – we are the group that comes early to set up and plans a brunch for us all to celebrate afterwards. Incorporating these small but important details gets people excited to attend the event.”
“Because Great Strides is outdoors, it is one of the few Foundation events where you get to actually meet the people who your fundraising efforts benefit,” he says. “Every Tomorrow’s Leader should go to Great Strides. When you come out and see the comradery, it gives you that extra perspective to keep fundraising.”