“Ultimately I decided to end my beach life early and take the job,” said Annie Ray. “I had enjoyed being a part of the working world, loved the environment, the people and the mission to serve the cancer community.”
Annie has taken on a variety of roles at 24 Foundation including bookkeeping, community event organizing, gift processing on every level, volunteer and intern management, customer service, technical support, fundraising, and serving as the organization’s main point of contact and liaison. 24 Foundation formed nearly her entire professional background and through serving in a multitude of roles Annie has taken away valuable lessons both personally and professionally. Each role has allowed her to approach problem solving in different ways. While personally, the organization has taught her the importance of being compassionate in all aspects of life.
“Cancer affects everyone and I’ve met people living with stage four cancer, people who have lost children, spouse’s, parents and friends,” Annie said. “Most often I’ve found that their hardships have led them to have an incredible view of life’s precious timeline. These individuals often seem to be masters of how and where to effectively draw strength — spiritually or from the world and people around them.”
In addition to the passion she’s found, Annie has formed “amazing” relationships as she refers to them over the last seven years that have further fueled her love for the organization. She first forged these relationships as an intern, where her first assignment was to research participant testimonials. This initial assignment taught her how to communicate with different people — participants, donors, sponsors, committee and board members — that share the vision & mission of 24 Foundation. The passion and the people are what Annie says she will miss most about working with the organization.
“The people – it’s such a strong community of individuals working towards the same goal,” Annie said. “I will miss the rush of event season. It was always the craziest and most fun time of year. Everyone involved around that time is full of passion, whether it’s in terms of fundraising, training and mileage goals or checking off to-do lists for community events.”
Little did Annie know that 24 Foundation would not only provide her a professional foundation through serving in a variety of roles and seeing different leadership changes, but would be the connection that formed her family.
“When I met Basil Lyberg I knew we were in for a fun, hard-working environment,” Annie said. “What I did not know was that he did match-making work on the side.”
While working an event, Annie was introduced to a special invitee, her future husband. Annie and her husband Erick live locally in Charlotte with their three-year-old daughter Maddie. After seven years of dedicated service and being the “go-to” girl for 24 Foundation staff, riders, donors and volunteers, Annie is leaving to welcome her second child any day now with her husband.
“24 Foundation has has left me with amazing memories, inspiring stories of life’s struggles and survivorship, wonderful friendships, a variety of professional experiences and a husband and family to boot!” Annie said. “As I am days away from welcoming our second child into the world, I am so thankful for the all the ways 24 Foundation has impacted my life and my family, but am most proud of all the ways I’ve been witness to the impact that 24 Foundation has had on the lives of those we serve in the cancer community.”
The staff at 24 Foundation would like to thank Annie for her ceaseless willingness to pick up any task, help find a solution for anyone with a question, and more importantly for bringing a positive spirit and joy to the organization.