Note from the editor: Time and time again, you’ll hear us refer to our strongest asset as our employees. They are brilliant, they are innovative, they are caring — simply all-around amazing. Today I’d like to share a story written on our internal blogging platform by Kaylee Montanes about one of our remarkable employees, Damon Smedley. It’s a touching story about how a father has taken a parent’s greatest fear and turned it into a movement that has touched and motivated thousands of lives.
Damon Smedley is more than a dedicated Intel employee who is passionate about our company, TMG and the D1D Ramp Organization; he has always volunteered in the local community and given to charities but never dreamed he’d wake up one day to the reality that his third child, Mason, would be fighting for his life and that he would be impacted by the generosity of charities.
Mason was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JM) at the age of 17 months and braved the disease until the age of 10 when he lost the battle on June 19, 2012. He endured more suffering than many of us will in our lifetime yet he remained funny, witty, and positive. Mason lost use of his legs and had limited use of his arms but thanks to technology it provided better opportunities for him every day. Life would not have been the same for Mason if it were not for his computer!
Mason couldn’t go to school every day like most kids but his personal computer became the vehicle that allowed him to learn and take online classes. His computer was one of his best sources for entertainment as he was not be able to physically go bowling but he could use a mouse & computer to play games like bowling. He even had the chance to enjoy the Angry Birds frenzy like majority of kids today. And he may not have been able to sit through a movie but he could watch one at his pace and leisure thanks to his computer. Our technology enriched the short life Mason lived in so many ways. And what dad would not want to get an email like this amongst his busy work day:
”When are you going to be home daddy I love you daddy can We get a slushy when get home I love you daddy. (: cool man “
And that is why Damon is not only a dedicated Intel employee, but he is passionate about supporting the non-profit Cure JM (Juvenile Dermatomoyositis) organization in hopes of finding a cure. When he is not working, he is volunteering 500+ hours per year to Cure JM and Ronald McDonald House. Three years ago, he began his own fundraiser in the local Hillsboro community by hosting the Cure Kids JM Festival which brings awareness of the rare disease and lots of fun for locals. What started as a small family event has turned into an event filled with past American Idol* participants & local TV personalities. He has recruited 100+ local high school students to help with the event. And he is grateful for the Intel employee volunteers who have volunteered 1000+ hours each year to make this event a success. (All who have had their hours matched by the Intel Involved program!) His leadership has made this event the second largest fund raising event for the organization for the year. The event benefits the Cure JM organization, Ronald McDonald House & United Way. The event brought in:
2009 – $55,141.00
2010 – $65,892.00
2011 – $92,585.00
We can help him exceed $100,000 in 2012 and pack the stadium! The Cure Kids JM Festival will be held this year on August 19th at the Hillsboro Stadium and we welcome you to join! In honor of Mason’s last wish everyone who attends the event will receive a free snow cone. Help us make Mason’s last wish come true!
We caught up with Damon to ask him if he had anything he wanted to share with our readers and here’s what he had to say.
“Working at Intel has made a very difficult experience a positive one for me and my family. Having the comfort of good insurance coverage and job security have allowed me to focus on my son, family and enabled us to create the event that so many families and kids love and enjoy. The volunteer program at Intel has helped me see the value in my work with non-profits and allow them some financial reward for my time as well as the many Intel volunteers who have joined us. I simply could not ask to work for a better company than the one I work for. I love working at Intel!!!”