Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Around Christmas 2004, Patrice Eastham’s family friends were devastated to learn that their 15-year-old son, Ian, had brain cancer. Eastham, a vice president of business communications for insurance firm Assurant (No. 285), and a friend decided to put together a fundraiser focused on Ian’s favorite sport, skateboarding, to help the family pay the medical expenses. Though Ian passed away July 4, 2005, that September, the neighborhood came together for the first annual SkaterAid festival. The event, which included skateboarding competitions, high school bands and an art car auction, was such a source of healing for Ian’s friends and family that Eastham decided to hold it every year.
Since then, Eastham has organized ten of the festivals. “Skateboarders had the reputation of being kind of pesky in my neighborhood,” she said. “Over time, with SkaterAid, it’s shifted the reputation of these skateboarding kids to being really caring members of the community.” The festivals have raised more than $200,000 in total, with all of the money since 2006 going to the Georgia Chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Butterfly Fund, which helps other families pay medical bills incurred from pediatric brain cancer.