It was two years ago today that AXA employees chose Alzheimer’s Research UK as their charity partner for the next three years. I remember well the moving stories some of our people shared about how Alzheimer’s and other dementias had affected them and their families. I believe it’s that personal connection and the cruel impact of dementia and the diseases that cause it that led our employees to choose Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Now, we don’t set easy targets at AXA, so we thought we’d stretch everyone involved. If you can’t do it for charity, when can you do it, eh? We had raised more than £170,000 over three years with our previous partner so thought that this time we should shoot for the quarter million. There was no doubt that £250,000 was a tough ask.
So to be writing here that our employees’ fundraising has just topped that £250,000 as we hit the two-thirds point in our partnership just blows me away. I should say that I’m not remotely surprised – our people are really motivated to raising funds and are incredibly active. There is activity in all our offices every month as well as a host of peculiar and demanding challenges – over this past year, some of our guys jumped from planes at 10,000ft in the Alzheimer’s Research UK Skydive Day, walked 100km through the night taking part in Race the Tide, worked on reducing their waistlines in a Pounds for Pounds challenge and donated the last hour of their 2016 salary in 60 Minutes of Hope. Whenever there is the opportunity to raise funds for our partner, our charity champions are on it with relentless gusto.
Fundraising is a massive part of what we do, but it’s not the whole story. What this partnership has done for AXA as a business has been great – it’s a two-way street. Bringing employees together around a single cause has been incredibly valuable and promoted a lot of cross-team working. Equally, our excellent account manager Vicky has visited almost all AXA offices over the past year to talk about dementia and its impact. Creating advocates for Alzheimer’s Research UK within AXA is a really powerful way to spread the word, to raise awareness and to educate our people and everyone they know about the urgency of the challenge our society faces.
I’m really looking forward to another fantastic year for the AXA/Alzheimer’s Research UK partnership. Of course we have no intention of slowing down just because we’ve met our target – we’ll now focus on how much we can beat it by. And my leadership team will be leading the charge once more – following a really successful Three Peaks challenge in 2015 and the Jurassic Coast in 2016, I hear the team crying that “surely it can’t be walking again”?
Well, who knows? But it will make another big contribution to the fight to Defeat Dementia.