The annual Believe Walk, co-founded by Annie Sellas, Cathy Stockton and the late Nancy Varner along with Stater Bros. Charities, went virtual for a second year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that did not stop it from achieving a record-breaking fundraising milestone.
Because of the efforts and generosity of Believe Walk fundraisers, donors and sponsors, more than $1.2 million was raised in the fight against cancer.
Together with their customers and vendor partners, Stater Bros. teammates raised more than $900,000 through a chainwide in-store campaign and online fundraising.
Proceeds will continue to fund programs and services at local organizations making strides in cancer care. This support includes patient navigation services; transportation to and from appointments; advanced screening and equipment; financial assistance with rent, utilities and groceries; home healthcare for terminal patients; and much more.
Grant beneficiaries include: Beloved Foundation, Desert Cancer Foundation, Loma Linda University Cancer Center, Michelle’s Place Cancer Resource Center, Redlands Community Hospital, Riverside University Health System Foundation, St. Bernardine Medical Center, The Care Project and The Pink Ribbon Place at Riverside Community Health Foundation.
“The Believe Walk community stepped up in a big way, and we are eternally grateful for their unwavering support. Cancer patients and their families need our help now more than ever. These funds will help alleviate some of the stress and financial hardship that families face throughout their cancer journey,” said Danielle Oehlman, director of Stater Bros. Charities.
The Believe Walk, led by Stater Bros. Charities and Inland Women Fighting Cancer, brings a community together to celebrate, remember and honor loved ones affected by cancer. What started as a grassroots event in downtown Redlands 14 years ago, with more than 1,500 participants, had grown to nearly 12,000 participants in 2019, becoming one of the premier fundraising events in the Inland Empire.
To date, more than $6.1 million has been invested in local programs and services to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families.
This achievement results from a shared vision between the three co-founders, Annie Sellas, Cathy Stockton and the late Nancy Varner. In 2007, the ladies crossed paths while in treatment and embarked on a journey to transform cancer care in their communities. A year later, the ladies approached Jack H. Brown, Stater Bros. Markets’ late executive chairman, to discuss their vision for starting a charity walk, and the rest is history.
As their friendship grew, the three formed an unbreakable bond that led to the formation of Inland Women Fighting Cancer, a committee of women united to raise funds and awareness for the Believe Walk.
“It continues to be a privilege to help people in our community with all cancers, having been a survivor and standing on God’s word, ‘All things are possible to him who believes’ (Mark 9:23),” said Sellas. “And we truly appreciate the Stater Bros. Markets team for their efforts and rallying behind this great cause.”
“From the onset, our wonderful Believe Walk has been blessed with the support of Stater Bros. Charities and our caring community. A big thank you to all our believers for their continued support for cancer patients and their families in the Inland Empire,” stated Stockton. “Next year, IWFC looks forward to walking the beautiful streets of Redlands together while feeling the love and joy shared by all.”
Stater Bros. Charities is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports critical needs in the communities where Stater Bros. Markets employees live and work. Since 2008, Stater Bros. Charities has invested more than $36 million in countless local organizations and causes that benefit hunger relief, children’s well-being, education, health, help for the nation’s veterans and active service members. Funds are raised throughout the year from customers, suppliers and members of the Stater Bros. Supermarket Family. To learn more, visit staterbros.com.