Many might think that Mattress Firm is only in the business of selling beds. Truth be told, it’s much more than that. Every day, our employees help improve the lives of those around them. Whether it’s helping a guest pick out the right bed to alleviate chronic back pain or collecting canned goods for a local food drive, Mattress Firm is so much more than a mattress company.
In 2011, we announced our national charitable focus of fighting pancreatic cancer and took steps to help every market make a difference in their local community. At the time, we had no idea how close to home our efforts would hit.
Very few know about pancreatic cancer primarily because nobody talks about it. It’s very similar to what breast cancer was in the 70′s. All people knew was that if you got it, you could pretty much count on dying. The same goes for pancreatic cancer today. It’s the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death and it’s expected to jump to number two by 2015. One reason why the survival rate is only 6% is due to the lack of an early detection method. Another reason is the lack of funding for research and clinical trials. In fact, 75% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are already in the advanced stages which leaves minimal treatment options.
Throughout 2011 and 2012, we continued to educate our employees, guests and communities about pancreatic cancer and successfully raised over $500k. In 2013, pancreatic cancer came to Mattress Firm. One of our own at the young age of 30, was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer. Suddenly, it became real. Pancreatic cancer was standing right in front of us, talking to us, sharing with us, working with us and impacting us. The fact that this could happen to one of our own and at such a young age opened our eyes to what we needed to do.
It’s easy to turn away when something doesn’t affect you directly. We all think that it will never happen to us. Truth be told, unless we take action, the chances of it happening to us or someone close to us keeps increasing. Our employees recognize the dire need for awareness and funding for clinical trials and research. Every day they seek out ways to educate one more person, raise one more dollar and give one more ounce of hope. We’d like to share a story about one of our employees that knows all too well the impact cancer has.
Meet Kyle Eades. He is a store manager in Houston, TX. Though he is fairly new to the Mattress Firm family, it’s not stopping him from getting involved in activities near and dear to his heart. Eades joined others from Mattress Firm and signed up for the PurpleStride Houston 2014 walk to raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer. The event is put on by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and takes place in cities all over the country throughout the year.
Eades began his fund raising campaign by sending out emails to as many Mattress Firm employees as he could asking for support. He set a personal goal to raise $1000 and because of those who helped, Eades now has raised the most money in Houston.
Why does this matter to Eades? In 2012, he lost his wife Amy at age 29 to stage 4 colo-rectal cancer. “We had so much support during her fight that I feel it is only right to Pay It Forward,” said Eades.
The effects of cancer on Eades’ life continued. In May 2013, his long-time friend and now girlfriend, Candace, lost her dad to pancreatic cancer.
Eades said, “Cancer, and any form of it, definitely hits very close to home with me for numerous reasons. I believe those who have fought and won, those who are fighting, and those who have lost their battle to cancer deserve all our support. This is why I choose to do this.”
PurpleStride events are growing and expanding to new cities, but will this ever become an event similar to the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure events? That’s up to you. The more awareness we create, the more money we can raise. With funding, clinical trials and research can lead to an accurate and cost-effective early detection method, new treatment options, increased survival rate and most of all hope.
We encourage and invite you to join us at a PurpleStride event near you. Visit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website for a listing of events and to register. We’d love to have you on our team! Simply select join a team and see if Mattress Firm is listed.
Feeling lazy or not compelled to do something? Well, you really don’t have an excuse. In fact, about 6 months after our fellow employee had the whipple procedure to treat his pancreatic cancer, he walked in the Kansas City PurpleStride. If he can get up and walk for a cause, why are you still sitting down?