Parvez Patel, left, and Mike Fox, right, laugh after 5-year-old Eli Borden threw pies in their faces to raise money for Fanconi anemia. Eli was diagnosed with FA a year ago.
The team at eFaucets is sending a check for almost $6,000 to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund to help support FARF's mission to find new treatments, and, eventually, a cure for Fanconi anemia. eFaucets raised the money by hosting a pie-throwing fundraiser and a bake sale.
May 2017 is when life changed forever for the Borden family. Their son, Eli, was just shy of his 4th birthday, when he was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a rare, genetic disorder that leads to bone marrow failure, leukemia and cancer. The life expectancy of an FA patient is just 33 years.
"We were terrified," said Sarah Borden, Eli's mom and relationship marketing manager at eFaucets. "But, since then, we've connected with hundreds of families across the country and found a second family that understands what we go through."
Sarah is a founding member of ELEVATE at eFaucets, a group of women who meet monthly for professional development, team building and community involvement. She approached the group in April about hosting a fundraiser in May, which is Fanconi anemia month, and for which Sarah established a "battle" team fundraising page dedicated to Eli.
"Everyone jumped in immediately with ideas, and we ultimately settled on a pie-throwing event where Eli would throw the pie and a bake sale," Sarah noted. "Of course, whether or not we could pull this off was going to totally depend on whether or not leadership was going to be willing to take a pie to their face."
Parvez Patel, general manager, didn't hesitate to throw his support behind the fundraiser, not only agreeing to potentially take a pie to his face but also pledging a 1:1 company match.
"It's just whipped cream, right?" Patel responded with a chuckle. "We are very serious about supporting our community whether it be amongst our team or in the greater southeast Wisconsin area where the majority of our team lives. There was no doubt that we would fully participate in this event."
Here's how the pie-throwing fundraiser worked:
Voting took place May 14 – 18; pie-throwing commenced on May 23
Each member of the leadership team had a bucket with their name on it: Patel; Wesley Ward, head of marketing; Mike Fox, head of operations; Adam Winn, head of pricing; and Sean Hayes, head of technology.
Team members voted with their money! Every dollar, handful of spare change, check, etc. that someone put into the bucket(s) of their choice counted as a vote
At the end of the week, the amount in each bucket was tallied
The leader with the most votes (money) got a pie in the face courtesy of Eli
To sweeten the deal, ELEVATE held a silent auction at the same time where the winning bidder had the opportunity to choose who would get a second pie. Ward came out on top with a note next to his bid that his pie would go to the leader with the lowest total in their bucket.
In the end, Mike Fox took first (last?) place with the most money in his bucket, and Parvez, who ended the week with the least amount of money in his bucket, was the recipient of Ward's winning bid and promise in the silent auction.
The day of the event both Mike and Parvez took their pies with grace and humor. Parvez even upped the stakes by buying pies for Wesly, Adam, and Kerri Rozdzialowski, merchandising manager and another co-founder of ELEVATE. Eli "threw" all the pies except for Kerri's; his sister, Chloe, got in on the action, too, filling Kerri's face with a pie full of whipped cream.
All told, the eFaucets team raised $5,882 for Fanconi anemia research.
"I feel honored to be part of the eFaucets family. We are an amazing group of people. This money will fund cutting edge research that may save my son’s life one day. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for supporting FARF, " Sarah wrote in an email to the company at the conclusion of the fundraiser. "I would also like to thank the leadership team for being willing to take a pie in the face from my son - at least he was gentle)."