The Beacon of Light Award honors a business or individuals who show exemplary dedication and commitment throughout the year to Walk With Sally’s programs and services to support children and families impacted by cancer.
We are proud to honor local South Bay power team Suzanne Sharer & Bob McDaniel, who have tirelessly worked behind-the-scenes since 2010 volunteering their time, fundraising, and giving philanthropically through their business, South Bay Automation – a Smart-home electronics integration company based in Manhattan Beach.
Bob was initially drawn to WWS through his own personal story, as his mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was 11-years-old. “It’s been an opportunity for me to give back financially, but also through time and effort, to an organization that is doing something I wish I had when I was that 11-year-old kid.” Suzanne has a long history of philanthropic work as well as a strong sense of volunteerism. She found that Walk With Sally struck a chord because the organization provides the opportunity to create an environment where children don’t have to go through loss on their own. Being a small part of this [community] “is incredibly gratifying – it brings great joy and fulfillment, and never feels like work. It’s a privilege.”
Bob and Suzanne have provided ongoing support for White Light White Night and the Friendship Bowl since 2010 and South Bay Automation has been a partner and supporter of White Light White Night for 3 years. They both also serve on Walk With Sally’s Advisory Board. Bob and Suzanne’s overall impact on the organization has been tremendous. Says Nick Arquette, Founder and CEO of Walk With Sally, “What Bob and Suzanne have meant to this organization cannot be overstated. Their love, passion and drive for our mission has allowed us to grow by leaps and bounds.”
Walk With Sally is proud and grateful to be furthering this partnership by presenting our Beacon of Light Award to Suzanne Sharer and Bob McDaniel for 2017.
Walk With Sally is proud to present the 5th Annual Lifetime Friendship Award to mentor Chris Martinez and his mentee, Patrick.
Chris lost his father to pancreatic cancer at the age of 27, and in the aftermath felt like he was going through grief alone, with no support system. After hearing about Walk With Sally through a networking group, he immediately signed up to be a mentor. Chris felt like it would be a great opportunity to help alleviate sadness and pain for a child going through something to which he could so closely relate. Chris and Patrick were matched in the summer of 2012, when 13-year old Patrick and his sister were in the throes of their mother’s 4-year battle with cancer, a battle she unfortunately lost.
The last 5 years Chris and Patrick have been matched as mentor and mentee have clearly had a large impact on both of them. Perhaps the most poignant moments for their relationship occurred leading up to Patrick’s mom’s death and in the months thereafter. Chris lives with the regret of not telling his father that he loved him prior to his passing, and Chris didn’t want Patrick to have this same regret. Chris advised Patrick to not let her last moments pass without telling his mom how he felt. Patrick spoke to his mother and let her know that he loved her. “Helping him to do that was one of the moments I’m most proud of when I think about my mentorship,” says Chris.
Patrick, now 17, thinks of Chris as an older brother and his role model. “He’s my best friend. I can rely on him…he’s always there for me when I need him. Growing up I never really looked up to someone as much as I look up to Chris.”
Congratulations to Chris and Patrick on your Lifetime Friendship Award, Walk With Sally loves having you as part of our community!