The Campbell Family and Baxter Credit Union - Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

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The Campbell Family and Baxter Credit Union

Chicago 5K Walk/Run

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize the Campbell Family and Baxter Credit Union as the MMRF Spirit of Hope Honoree at the 2016 MMRF Team for Cures: Chicago 5K Walk/Run, which is the 10th anniversary of the Spirit of Hope Award.

The Campbell Family and Baxter Credit Union Story

Posted August 2016

Torrance Campbell’s wife, Jennifer, learned about the MMRF through her husband.  He had met Kathy Giusti sometime before the first MMRF Chicago 5K Walk/Run in 2001.  At the very first race Torrance participated with a number of his colleagues and friends from Baxter Credit Union (BCU).

One of Baxter Credit Union’s first employees and dear friend, Torrance Campbell (TC) was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1997.  He was just 38 years old.  Like so many others, his colleagues didn’t know very much about multiple myeloma when they first heard the news.  Nonetheless, BCU employees were determined to learn more and do their part to contribute to a cure. The founding sponsor company of Baxter Credit Union, Baxter Healthcare, made their employees aware of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which is how their relationship with the MMRF and the MMRF 5K Walk/Run Program began.

Formed with the enthusiastic support of BCU’s CEO, Mike Valentine, BCU’s race team originated simply as the “BCU Team”. Shortly after Torrance’s passing in 2005, another multiple myeloma patient and close friend of BCU suggested “Spirit of Hope”. So beginning in 2006, the BCU Team officially became “TC’s Spirit of Hope” to honor his memory.  The team name embodies Torrance’s hopeful attitude.

Whether in good health or bad, Torrance showed courage, empathy, deep faith, and an immense passion for life. At first meeting, most people quickly realized what a special man he was because of his hopeful and infectious spirit.  He remained positive and certain that one day a cure would be found for multiple myeloma, and only humbly hoped it wouldn’t be too late for him. The BCU employees that were fortunate enough to work with him for 20 years often reflect on what an incredible person he was. Wonderful stories of the impact Torrance had on the lives of everyone he touched at BCU are shared often, keeping the TC Spirit of Hope alive in all they do.

“He was the best husband and father, a genuine friend and coworker. He was a light to those around him. BCU, his employer at the time, still continues to support MMRF.  His spirit of hope remains impactful.  I admire my Aunt Jenny’s strength. Their sons Justin and Evan are wonderful examples and many of their characteristics remind me my uncle. Their father would be proud of the young men they have become,” said Torrance’s niece, Jocelyn Williams.

Jennifer feels that being Given the Spirit of Hope Award means that they can continue to honor Torrance and build on his legacy of faith that has been a source of hope and encouragement to families facing multiple myeloma.

In the true spirit of remembering and honoring Torrance, BCU’s tradition is to invite employees, friends, family members, members and business partners to participate and raise funds for the MMRF for a period of weeks leading up to the race.  “It’s wonderful to have so many of our current and former employees and their families come out in support of MMRF and celebrate TC’s memory”, Valentine shared. They usually stay at the conclusion of the event to share brunch together, too.

“Our family has had to continue with out Torrance’s daily presence. However, the foundation of faith, love and support he gave us will always keep him in our hearts,” said Jennifer Campbell.

Baxter Credit Union has established a Perpetual Award in Torrance’s honor through the Illinois Credit Union Foundation Commemorative Program. Additionally, the Learning Resource Center at BCU’s headquarters bears his name, serving as a constant reminder of those things TC taught them in life and in death.

Torrance always said to put others’ needs above your own, knowledge is power, good habits are worth forming, and that everything’s better when accompanied by a smile!  Mike Valentine commented, “We learned a lot from TC.  He truly left an impression on everyone he came in contact with.” His memory will be etched in their hearts forever.

Jennifer Campbell, Justin Campbell, Evan Campbell, Lisa Baron, the Campbell Family and Baxter Credit Union employees continue to participate in the MMRF Chicago Walk/Run to help raise awareness and funding for those battling multiple myeloma and in honor of Torrance.

Torrance’s “spirit of hope” and perseverance in light of obstacles he faced in his life was the start of the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award. Today, this award is presented to a person or team who inspires hope and shows extraordinary commitment to the MMRF. This award is presented at all 11 MMRF 5K Walk/Runs and most of the MMRF’s events including the Fall Gala, Chicago Dinner, Laugh for Life, Ironman Lake Placid, NYC Marathon, Empire State Building Run Up and many more.  The MMRF has named over 250 Spirit of Hope Award Honorees since 2006 when the award was created in Torrance’s honor.

The MMRF works tirelessly to find a cure to extend the lives of patients, and is proud to honor the Campbell Family and Baxter Credit Union as the 2016 recipient of the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award, given at every MMRF 5K Walk/Run event to a person who inspires hope and shows extraordinary commitment to the MMRF.  The Campbell Family and BCU have touched the myeloma community with their strength of character, kindness, and embodiment of hope.