Ryan Chiechi calls himself a “City of Hope kid,” even though he has worked at the institution only a short time.
After all, his family ties to City of Hope run deep: His mother has worked at City of Hope during his entire lifetime, and his sister works in the medical center, too.
|Ryan Chiechi jumped at the opportunity to support City of Hope. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Chiechi)|
Add that to his own passion for philanthropic work, and it was natural for Chiechi, 25, to decide to captain a team for the Los Angeles Walk for Hope Nationally Presented by Staples. The series of nationwide fundraising walks supports the Women’s Cancers Program at City of Hope. The Los Angeles event happens Nov. 7 at City of Hope’s Duarte campus.
“I’m doing what I can to help others, using my strengths,” said Chiechi, part of the internal audit staff. “I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but I’m doing my part to benefit the fight against cancer, both through my work here and outside activities like Walk for Hope.”
Chiechi’s efforts to recruit members to his team, called Risky Business, have been wildly successful. His team has 28 participants — one of the largest among The Home Team, City of Hope employees who raise funds through Walk for Hope.
He has a City of Hope pedigree behind him. His mother, Phyllis Burch, has worked in the Department of Radiation Oncology for 30 years, now serving as administrative director. His sister, Christina Chiechi, is a radiographic aide with the Department of Diagnostic Radiology.
Chiechi, who graduated in 2009 from Boise State University, further cultivated his interest in helping others as a member of a fraternity there, participating in fundraisers for cancer charities and other community events.
Earlier this year, Burch invited her son to join the radiation oncology department’s Walk for Hope team, Keeping Abreast. Chiechi instead opted to lead the internal audit team, picking the name Risky Business as a play on their role mitigating risk for City of Hope. He bolstered the team’s ranks by convincing his sister and other friends to come aboard.
Said Chiechi: “This is a good cause. It’s an easy thing to sell. Sometimes when people can’t donate money, they want to join the team instead. That helped us get so many members.”
He and his teammates further tap their social network to gather donations by making appeals through e-mail and on Facebook. By Oct. 28, they had raised more than $2,400.
Burch is happy to see Chiechi writing a new chapter in his family’s history of engagement with City of Hope and its mission.
“As a parent, the greatest reward is to see your child grow up to be a young adult who has a heart and looks to give back in any way he can,” she said. “I just feel very proud of him.”