When Mike Pack sold his first JDRF Paper Sneaker, he couldn’t imagine how significant an impact that small donation could have. It was 1996, and Mike had just started working as general manager in an Advance Auto Parts store in Summersville, WV. “I was astonished by the number of customers who walked into my store and asked for the manager—just to say how much they appreciated that Advance was working with them to help cure type 1 diabetes,” Mike remembers.
Now 18 years later—and $38 million raised for JDRF by Advance Auto Parts—Mike is one of JDRF’s most enthusiastic champions, and a terrific example of what makes the JDRF/Advance partnership such a successful one.
All in a day’s work
More than 4,000 Advance stores participate in the JDRF Sneaker Sale Campaign. Before a recent promotion to senior vice president of operations support, Mike led store operations for Advance’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, responsible for more than 1,400 stores. As such, he has overseen thousands of Sneaker Sales.
“Supporting JDRF is an everyday, ingrained part of our culture at Advance,” says Mike, “and we take a very personal pride in our partnership with JDRF.” The general manager of every newly opened Advance store has the opportunity to donate $1,000 to the charity of his or her choice. “Ninety percent of the managers in this region choose JDRF,” Mike says.
“The way I see it, JDRF’s values match Advance’s values. We’re committed to doing the right thing for our customers, and JDRF is committed to doing the right thing for a cure.”
In good company
JDRF’s work to deliver life-changing treatments and a cure for T1D has a personal impact for Mike as well. The Pack family has no connection to T1D specifically, but they share a similar struggle—Mike’s wife of 18 years, Kimberly, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 17. And although type 1 and type 2 are very different diseases, Mike’s hopes for the future would be familiar to anyone with T1D. “The first question I ask my wife in the morning is ‘What’s the number?’ I don’t want her blood sugar to be the first thing we have to think about every day.”
JDRF’s vision of creating a world without T1D is shared throughout Advance Auto Parts. “We all hope to not continue forever; we hope to one day be able to move on and help cure something else. And it’s wonderful to see what’s happening with JDRF research, because now you can almost imagine that day.”
Until that day, though, JDRF and Advance Auto Parts aren’t slowing down—and for his part, Mike’s foot is firmly on the accelerator. The company has a two-foot-tall trophy that travels every year to the region that raises the most money in the JDRF Sneaker Sale Campaign. Since Mike took over leading the Northwest and Mid-Atlantic region in 2010, the trophy hasn’t left his possession. “I tell the other regions the same thing every year: ‘If you want it, come get it.’”
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