Renton Realtor wins award
Leads Top Research Fundraising Team
Realtor® Tina McDonough, a sales agent with RE/MAX Select in Renton, is one of five winners chosen by the National Association of Realtors® for REALTOR® Magazine's 2013 Good Neighbor Awards. McDonough was selected for leading the number-one fundraising team in the U.S. for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
"This year's Good Neighbor Award winners are not only a tremendous inspiration to others for their dedication and passion, but also they remind us of Realtors®' commitment to building communities and helping those who need it most," said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty, in Villa Park, Calif. "Tina has displayed tremendous self-sacrifice to improve the lives of those less fortunate. I am proud and honored to recognize her and look forward to watching her grow her work."
After slugging it through the 60-mile walk during Seattle's Susan G. Komen 3-Day Race for breast cancer in 2007, Tina McDonough's head told her never again." But when breast cancer claimed her friend's life two months later, McDonough's heart told her to walk to the ends of the earth for a cure.
Her friend, Michelle Brown, had been living with breast cancer and had persuaded McDonough to join the event. Brown's group of four walkers raised $11,945 that year, but McDonough recalls it being difficult and she chalked it up to a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sadly, two months later Michelle died at age 38.
"I watched her 12-year-old daughter and her husband fall apart," said McDonough. "Attending her funeral was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I knew I had to do something, so I started a team to walk in her memory."
That team, Valley Girls & Guys! is now the number-one fundraising team in the U.S. They've raised $1.4 million for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the largest nonprofit source of breast cancer research funding outside of the U.S. government. In addition to research, the organization's funding goes toward free mammograms for thousands of women, treatment assistance programs and a survivor helpline.
This year, Valley Girls & Guys! had 168 walkers, while the average team has only 10 members. Even more remarkable is that 75 percent of walkers on McDonough's team return every year.
"Most teams get only about one-third of their walkers to return," said McDonough. Each participant is required to raise $2,300 to participate and the walk is 60 miles over three days. Twenty miles of walking a day is grueling and takes quite a bit of preparation."
Laura Richardson, a childhood friend of McDonough's who has been on her team from the start, says McDonough makes it easy. "With Tina, no walker is left behind," said Richardson. If you want to walk, she'll make that happen. She'll encourage you. Tina has the ability to keep people engaged. Her drive and passion are contagious."
In addition to smaller monthly fundraisers, McDonough holds four large events. One of her favorites is her Survivor Event, held every August. "It's a huge barbecue in our seven-acre backyard," said McDonough. That event alone raises about $20,000. In addition, every March the team has an auction night; last year, McDonough and her team hosted 425 guests and raised $151,000 in one evening.
McDonough never misses an opportunity to remind people about the cause; she even includes the Komen logo on her real estate signs. "If you told me six years ago that I'd be doing this, I would have laughed," said McDonough. I feel guilty that it took a tragedy for me to create this team. It's the best way I can honor my friend and others who have succumbed to this disease."
McDonough and the other four Good Neighbor Award winners will each receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and will be profiled in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The recipients will receive their awards on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco.
Celebrating its 14th year, the Good Neighbor Awards has been awarded annually since 2000 and is presented by NAR's REALTOR® Magazine. REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing. More information about the Good Neighbor Awards winners is available at www.REALTOR.org/gna.