To save and sustain lives. It has been Baxter International, Inc.'s mission for years. Baxter is a global healthcare company based in Deerfield, Ill. that applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products to treat life-threatening diseases and chronic conditions. This Sunday, 19 Baxter employees will take to the streets of Chicago and run the X-Sport Fitness Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon and raise money to eradicate one of the diseases that gives it business.
"It's been invigorating," said Phil Rackliffe, Baxter's vice president of marketing, Global Nutrition, of training for the race. "It's given me a real motivation just beyond personal health to actually know that I'm doing something against a grave disease that continues to capture too many lives."
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The runners will compete as a part of the American Cancer Society's DetermiNation team. DetermiNation, which began in Chicago in 1996, is a program that provides registration and professional training to athletes who commit to raise funds for American Cancer Society research and programs. So far in 2012, DetermiNation has raised over $1.2 million to find a cure for cancer.
"It was very easy to get people to sign up and participate in the event," said Amy Giertych, sr. director of Global Regulatory Affairs, who started the team. "We have a lot of runners throughout Baxter and to recruit on behalf of a charity organization for a cause made it that much easier."
Baxter has been producing chemotherapeutics for more than 40 years. The company also produces IV solutions used for patients undergoing chemotherapy, disposables for administering cancer treatment, nutritional products for cancer patients and drugs that lessen the side effects of chemotherapy, such as anti-emetics to treat nausea and vomiting.
"This is one of the things that make Baxter a great company," said Rackliffe, who lost his father to cancer this year after a 20-year battle with the disease. "You've got a lot of support; you've got people really willing to find and make a difference and run for this cause and at the same time make products to help cancer patients."
The 19 runners all come from Baxter's Medical Products business. Many, like Rackliffe, have close connections to cancer. Giertych is one of several cancer survivors on the team.
"Because I was one of the lucky people that had many resources available to me, I realized that there are so many people out there that need the resources of the American Cancer Society," Giertych said. "And I just think that the work the ACS does is remarkable and the amount of people that the ACS touches is amazing. So it's my way of giving back and helping others, knowing the challenges that somebody diagnosed with cancer goes through."
In addition to funding cancer research, the American Cancer Society provides services to cancer patients such as free rides to and from treatment and free brand-new wigs. Baxter's DetermiNation team has raised more than $43,000 to date, aided by a company matching gift program.
"The team has had outstanding support and encouragement from leadership and our colleagues from a training and fundraising perspective," Giertych said. "The experience has been a lot of fun. We've had a lot of good laughs as a part of the training program. . . We're really looking forward to the run. Hats off to my team. They're the ones that have made this such a success."
To learn more about DetermiNation and how to get involved visit acsdetermination.org.