Talk to Jennifer Tessitore and you come away with several impressions: determined, gracious, resilient but generally the word defiant would not come to mind. Jennifer, mom of a high school girl and a working professional in the criminal justice system probably wouldn’t strike you as difficult or resistant. Ms. Tessitore, though, defies distance and Polycom’s Real Presence has been part of her doing so.
Jennifer, first of all, defied distance by running the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 – more than 26 hilly miles of running - one year after the bombs were set off by cowardly terrorists. She was chosen to represent the 16-person Power Team for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which is searching for a cure to the cancer that plagues Jennifer’s mother and so many others. So Jennifer is not only running to defy distance but also to defy a deadly disease. With the help of her local running buddies and community outreach, she raised $18,000 that will fund critical cancer research. The Power Team of 16 raised nearly $150,000!
In a Polycom Special Event, Jennifer spoke with high school students in South Carolina and in Alaska. She talked about endurance running – going the distance – and talked about confronting her mother’s incurable cancer and defying the helplessness she felt. Jennifer’s “defiance” helped students find an answer to the question, “Is there anything I can do when a family member or friend faces a crisis?"
Jennifer talked about character and compassion. This was not a fundraising event. Even so, not long after the broadcast, she got a video from a freshman English class at Berea High School. The school is in an economically challenged neighborhood. Nevertheless, the ten or so students in the video proudly announced in unison, “We’ve raised over $ 250 for you!” The reality was even better -- their candy bar sales and good deeds netted right at $300 for cancer research to help find a cure. It all gives credence to a saying Jennifer quoted while there in the class: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!"
So many people in the community came together to help Jennifer pursue her goal. Distance, disease, dollars – defy them all. Polycom does that.