Local Heroes: Fundraising is Personal for Union Pacific Employee

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the heroes behind the work of Komen Great Plains. These individuals have committed to fundraising to show they are ready to fight breast cancer on all fronts – from research to community outreach, access to care and taking action through advocacy.

In the 1940s, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer was 72 percent.  Vicki Siderwicz’s mom was one of the women who survived. Decades later, Vicki faced the same diagnosis and a five-year survival rate of 97 percent.

Given her personal connection, Vicki volunteered a few years ago to coordinate activities to fundraise for the Komen Race for the Cure as part of the LEAD women’s group at Union Pacific—a long-time sponsor of the event.

Fundraising tips

Vicki and her team coordinate an online auction and bake sale that have raised $12,000 per year for the last three years.  “We also focus on several activities during the key weeks leading up to the event to encourage donations and participation,” Vicki says. …”A work display highlights various aspects of the program or personal stories from UP employees.  Last year our dining room supported a “pink-out” day with pink cookies and discounts for anyone wearing pink.  We have donation slips that get put on every desk (along with a little pink treat, usually bubble gum or kisses) to encourage donations.”

Why I raise funds

When she faced a breast cancer diagnosis, Vicki realized she was blessed to have good insurance and a supportive work management team.  She notes, “While I was going through surgeries and recovery; however, I saw a lot of women who weren’t as blessed— women going back to physical jobs with drainage tubes, women hauling kids with them to treatments, and women who didn’t have the resources that were available to me, sometimes things as simple as a mastectomy bra. (Komen’s) local programs are designed to help these women get the resources they need.”  Vicki is also aware that the type of cancer she was diagnosed with wouldn’t have been caught 10 years ago.  She didn’t have a lump or any symptoms that anything was wrong until a sharp-eyed technician identified it after a routine mammogram and follow-up ultrasound.  “Had it not been for the recent advances in technology, I wouldn’t be here now,” Vicki emphasizes.