To celebrate the 20th annual Eden Autism 5K & Fun Run/Walk, we’re honoring people who helped turn this race into Eden’s biggest annual fundraiser!
For Dorene Stacy, the best part of volunteering at the Eden Autism 5K & Fun Run/Walk is being a part of the Eden community.
“Eden is an unbelievable organization that is doing unbelievable things with folks that really just need a chance,” she said. “I’ve heard so many parent, sibling, and teacher stories just saying ‘I didn’t know what to do and here my child felt loved and at home.’ It’s a wonderful community.”
Dorene has volunteered or participated in the race through her employer, Munich Re, since 2014. As the Head of Experience and REFM Administration at Munich Re, she spearheaded a variety of initiatives to get her colleagues involved in the race, as both volunteers and runners.
For ten years, Munich Re was the race’s title sponsor, and Dorene said it was “a really big to-do around campus.” Munich Re promoted a “couch to 5K” program in the weeks leading up to the race and hosted lunchtime presentations by Eden Autism staff and family members to inform its employees about autism and Eden’s services.
“What I found most interesting was when the siblings would come up and talk about how things played out in their home lives, how autism affected them, and the love that they felt for their siblings,” said Dorene. “Just putting those real-life examples in the forefront speaks volumes.”
Munich Re may no longer be the title sponsor, but its impact on the race lives on through employees like Dorene who continue to run and volunteer to support the event.
“Dorene is a one-of-a-kind volunteer. Not only has she and her team from Munich Re been instrumental in the execution of the race’s considerable logistics and operations, she has done extraordinary things quietly and humbly, such as purchasing equipment so that Eden participants who worked at the company could better succeed in carrying out their responsibilities,” said Eden Autism Chief Development Officer Melinda McAleer. “Eden is just one of the organizations that benefit from Dorene’s goodwill and spirit of generosity. Every one of us is extremely fortunate to have her in our corner.”
Working for a company like Munich Re that not only encourages employees to give back to their communities, but gives them the time and resources to do so is important to Dorene. “It allows for all of our employees to be able to step outside of their day-to-day and provide support,” she said. “It’s a big world, and you might be blessed in one way and able to help others in another way to make a difference.”
Watching the race grow and transform over the years has been interesting for Dorene, who also served on the race committee. “It might not be the largest race out there, but it provides an opportunity for anyone who wants to be there,” she said. “You can walk the race. You can bring your family. Whether you’re running or walking or young or old, there is something for you to do.”
Volunteering at the race is an extra special experience, one Dorene knows well. “When you find an organization that is doing the best they can to help the individuals they support, there is no better feeling than being a part of that,” she said.
THE 20TH ANNUAL EDEN AUTISM 5K & FUN RUN/WALK WILL BE HELD SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2023. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS YEAR’S RACE AND REGISTER, VISIT EDENAUTISM5K.ORG.