Curtis Anderson was diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) at nine years old. Over 35+ years later, Curtis and his wife, Koryn, have continued to manage his condition and have become active participants in the IDF community. Together, they’ve attended IDF forums and regional and national conferences. When IDF announced the inaugural Walk for PI in Chicago in 2013, they were all in.
Curtis goes on to explain, “We have participated in every Chicago walk since 2013. IDF continues to be a constant source of support for our family. As a result, we focus our time and energy each year on increasing awareness and sponsorship for IDF through this annual event.”
When participating in IDF Walk for PI, Curtis and Koryn started small their first few years. They never expected to receive such increasing and continued support from their family, friends, and coworkers, and 2020 was no exception.
Curtis shares, “With 2020, there were countless competing charities and causes that needed assistance. We knew that a lot of our circle would be financially unable to support IDF as they had previously. However, we were absolutely astonished and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we received in such unprecedented times. People that knew about my condition and remembered our annual walk continually reached out to see how we were doing and whether we were doing the walk in 2020. We were blessed that so many people kept us in their thoughts and charitable giving plans in 2020 despite the challenges. In fact, our 2020 team fundraising total was the highest total thus far!”
Team CuKo was able to raise over $14,000. Curtis and Koryn were amazed and grateful for their success but attributed a few methods to their fundraising success. When asked what fundraising advice they would give to newcomers, Curtis answered with the following four approaches:
- Incentivize your supporters! In the early years of the walks, Curtis would leverage walked “laps” at Cantigny Park in the Chicago suburbs. For every $1,000 in donations, he would walk an additional lap of the course. In other years, and the most recent, he challenged his supporters to donate a certain amount to see him walk laps in a zebra costume. In 2020, his supporters met this challenge right up to the very last minute of Curtis’s virtual walk. His team hit $5,000 to ensure the Anderson neighbors got a great show, watching Curtis in a zebra costume pass by their windows!
- Make it fun! No one wants to feel like IDF Walk for PI is a chore, so make it fun. Koryn helped rally Team CuKo by giving out zebra gear to each of their teammates!
- Be vulnerable! Curtis and Koryn were always private when it came to Curtis’s CVID. However, as the years went on, Curtis decided to discuss it more openly, and it was the walks that made him completely public about his diagnosis. Curtis knew he could bring more awareness and support to IDF if people truly understood what PI is. Now, he attributes his vulnerability to the support system he has today.
- Show appreciation! Each year Curtis and Koryn write personal thank you cards to each supporter (regardless of donation size)! They frequently include photos, stickers, or magnets inside as an extra thank you. While Curtis admits that most donors say the thank you card is unnecessary, he and his wife feel it’s essential!
As an organization, we want to give a huge thank you to Curtis, Koryn, and Team CuKo! The support you provide is vital to the PI community, and it does not go unnoticed. We are excited to see Team CuKo have even more success in 2021. The IDF Walk Team is undoubtedly rooting for Curtis to be walking around Chicago in his zebra costume again!
As IDF Walk for PI 2021 is quickly approaching, we ask that you stay tuned to our IDF Walk for PI Facebook (@WalkforPI). Over the next month, we will be announcing the walk dates and locations, new features for the year, and when registration opens. We can’t wait for you to stride with IDF pride!