Each year, we invite our employees to pitch their greatest aspirations during CoverMyQuest, a week-long event that awards 10 employees $4,500 grants to pursue their adventures, passions and philanthropic endeavors.
Our Quests always represent our core values, though this year, we noted a trend. Each of our 2020 winners took “Be Selfless” to heart, with Quests designed to bring joy to the lives of others — from family and friends to members of our communities.
Here, our winners share what — and who — inspired their Quests, and what they plan to achieve with their grants.
My ex-wife and the mother of my children passed away on August 1, after a painful battle with cancer. This is the third big loss my children and our family has had to endure; their brother Noah lost his life in 2013, at 14, due to an accidental shooting, and their baby brother Oskar passed away in 2018, at age three.
During my ex-wife’s battle with cancer, my kids Loki (13) and Lilith (11) fell far behind in their schooling. My Quest is to stabilize their lives, help them get caught up in their education, receive the counseling they need in order to have the same chances as other children, and to live the healthy lives they deserve.
The Impact of My Quest: The funds from my Quest will go toward helping me secure reliable and proper transportation to get them to and from doctors’ appointments, counseling and therapy, as well as help pay for tutors, school supplies and learning projects.
My Quest is the culmination of two years of work, practice and growth.
I’ve always been one to perfect a dish — steaks, omelets, anything that seemed like a challenge. I’d make the dish over and over and over again until I got it right. But once I nailed it, I moved on. But something happened when I started working with bread. I wanted to be creative. I wanted to explore all kinds of doughs. I bought many books and equipment. In the past two years, I’ve made biscuits, croissants, sourdough, naan, empanadas, overnight white, poolish, pizza dough, focaccia, cinnamon rolls, buckwheat meteil and even Yorkshire pudding.
Since learning how to make bread, one of my greatest joys is sharing it. I’ve made bread for friends and family and even shared loaves with my coworkers in the Cleveland office. We’ve all heard the term “breaking bread.” Bread and friendship are very closely related.
The goal of my Quest is to bake bread on a larger scale. Right now, I have a very small proofing box, two Dutch ovens and an oven that can bake only two loaves at a time. I would like to be able to bake 10 to 20 loaves at once.
The Impact of My Quest: I want to bring my sourdough to farmers’ markets and share it with more than close friends and family. I want to bake a bunch of bread and bring it to a homeless shelter. I’d love to make all the bread for a CoverMyMeds event. If I can get a picture taken of me in front of my farmers’ market stand, with 40 loaves behind me and a big smile on my face, I’d consider my quest complete.
My CoverMyQuest is to sponsor a CoverMyMeds edition of “90 Day Fiance!”
My Fiance, Sothea, is Cambodian. We met when I was living in her country doing volunteer work, and we’ve been apart for over a year, as she’s still living there. We’re now in the process of her immigration to the States.
The Impact of My Quest: This grant money will go toward the cost of immigration and a traditional Cambodian wedding — when I’m able to travel back to see her. CoverMyMeds will have the chance to experience her beautiful culture and a traditional Khmer wedding through videos and blog posts.
For my Quest, I’m going to raise money to help pay for a medical procedure for my nephew, Weston.
Weston is a pretty amazing kid, who has overcome a lot in his two years of life. He was born on October 18, 2018, with a one-pound, softball-sized cancerous tumor attached to his kidney. He spent three months in the NICU, but was able to come home right before his first Christmas.
Because of the tumor, and the damage it caused to his brain, Weston was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). Today, many different therapies help with his brain development, ranging from feeding therapy and vision therapy to physical therapy. The procedure my Quest will help cover will hopefully give Weston a bit of a boost with his development — and allow his other therapies to be even more effective.
This procedure could potentially help with Weston’s brain development and increase his quality of life, providing gains in vision (being able to see and recognize people), cognitive ability (being able to communicate or express interest) and movement. Even small improvements in these areas will be significant for Weston and his parents and help him grow into his fullest potential.
The Impact of My Quest: The procedure, which involves extracting and injecting mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to generate brain re-growth, isn’t covered by insurance, making this Quest necessary. There’s still a lot of research to be done for the procedure to become FDA approved, though Duke University is working on something to move it along quicker. From the beginning, Weston’s story has been one of resilience, hope and community, and I’m so excited that CoverMyMeds is going to become a part of his story now, too.
My Quest is in honor of my dad, LeRoy Williams. He passed away on August 27, 2018, just a few weeks into my first position at CoverMyMeds.
My mom, brothers and I will be customizing an urn for my dad. We are hoping to provide him a special final resting place with a customized music theme, because he was a musician, or a New York City theme, because it was his favorite place in the world. I’ll also use my grant for my education.
The Impact of My Quest: My dad’s dream was for me to continue my education, and I’m currently in grad school to obtain my master’s degree in healthcare administration. I do plan to pursue my doctorates degree as well.
I’m using the money from my Quest award to buy a domain to create an eating disorder online support group and resources website, and to also publish my blog posts. (I currently use a free platform, which primarily reaches my Facebook followers.)
I also plan to use some of the money to find a publisher and begin writing a book about my story — being diagnosed with anorexia at 17, and all of the ups and downs I’ve experienced, including relapses and periods of recovery. I’ll share what I’ve learned along the way, and what has helped me get to where I am today: one year in recovery.
I am so excited to finally be healthy enough, both physically and mentally, to pursue this dream of mine, and I cannot thank CoverMyMeds enough for helping me help others.
The Impact of My Quest: Even if I can help just one person, that’s one less person that has to suffer from an eating disorder. I want people to know they are not alone and that recovery is bumpy, not perfect. Recovery is difficult, but it is truly possible. I know I will live with this for the rest of my life, but I will continue to challenge it and set new goals for myself so that my eating disorder does not win.
Every time someone meets my dad, they say to me: “He is just the best!” And I wholeheartedly agree.
A Canadian, family-loving, dad-joke-telling man, with the kindest soul I’ve ever seen in a human being, my dad has traveled a tough road — he’s a cancer survivor who’s now battling stage 4 Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease — there is no cure and no stopping it. As his symptoms get worse, it’s harder for him to walk and perform daily tasks on his own. My mom is his caretaker, and she works early mornings to make sure she can be home all day with my dad to help him get around the house and take his medication on time.
In July of this year, my dad had deep brain simulation, during which devices were implanted on his brain and under his chest, to send out electrical signals to help with his movement. I have not seen my dad walk as well as he has been lately in a very long time. This surgery does not stop the progression of Parkinson’s, but it helps immensely with the symptoms.
My dad has family in Toronto — whom he hasn’t seen in decades — and it’s been my parents’ dream to experience the beautiful sights in Canada. My Quest will support this trip.
The Impact of My Quest: I’m so grateful I’m able to do this for my parents, as I know they would never do this for themselves. I am absolutely blessed and thankful that CoverMyMeds is awarding this opportunity for them.
My father worked in the restaurant industry his entire life, and he absolutely loved what he did. He told me at a young age that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
He dreamt of opening up a family-owned business and wanted to have his own sports bar. He was in the process of following this dream when, in 2012, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, putting everything on hold. That same year, I graduated from university with a job lined up in Suzhou, China, but this diagnosis had me contemplating following my own dreams. My father was adamant that I go to China. Seven months later, he passed away, and his dream never saw the light of day. From that time on, I vowed to make his dream a reality.
With my dad’s advice in mind, I began searching for my passions and found that I love craft beer. When I returned to America in 2016, I noticed there was a craft beer explosion. With the help of the Cleveland Brewery Passport, I began exploring these breweries found that I had a ton of fun connecting with the locals and bar owners. It was then I knew I wanted to open a brewery in honor of my father.
The Impact of My Quest: CoverMyQuest will support the first step in my journey by helping me acquire the education I need to be a successful brewer and bar owner. Opening a brewery is not an easy task and, as a homebrewer, there is a lot I still need to learn. After a year of research, I found a three-week intensive bootcamp in Sunderland, England, through BrewLab, which will teach me how to brew at a professional level, as well as how to manage a microbrewery. The program, which beings in October 2021, covers brewing history, technology, microbiology and taste training.
My husband has been a Columbus firefighter for six years, and in June of this year, he became a paramedic. Due to the severity and frequency in which firefighters and paramedics witness accidents, homicides, suicides and the overall suffering of humanity, many of them experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
I wasn’t sure I was going to apply for CoverMyQuest until I received the news that a personal friend and fellow firefighter had committed suicide at the end of August. This makes two friends and firefighters my husband has lost in the last two years. I knew this was my call to action — I had to do something to help relieve my husband’s PTSD.
My quest is to surprise my husband with a trip to Hawaii. We haven’t been able to go on a vacation for the last three years, and he needs a break from the daily shootings, drug overdoses and car accidents to be reminded the world is still full of wonder and beauty — even when he feels death is the only thing that surrounds him.
The Impact of My Quest: This Quest will allow me to do something nice for my husband and help restore his belief in humanity. He works hard to provide for people in their worst moments, with the care and concern we all deserve. For that, he will always be my hero!
For my Quest, my husband and I are taking my sister-in-law backpacking through Europe. She turns 18 next year, and we want to inspire her.
She and my husband did not have a fair childhood, and this trip has been her dream since she completed a school project on the countries of Europe during her freshman year of high school. We plan to travel to Paris, France, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, and Venice and Rome in Italy. I’ll be documenting all of our travels on a blog.
The Impact of My Quest: Winning CoverMyQuest means I get to create amazing memories with my little family, and help make my sister-in-law’s dreams come true. (And mine!) This will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and I cannot wait.