Gift of Giving: Turning a personal fight against a chronic illness into a gift for others

A health crisis with their daughter prompted David and his wife to double down on their charitable efforts.
The Befumos felt fortunate to have the support of family, friends and their employers while dealing with their daughter’s illness.

By David Befumo, Project Manager

This post is part of a series published during the 2021 holiday season highlighting Clorox employees’ personal commitments giving back to their communities.

When my daughter Ali was 2 years old, she began having seizures, sometimes lasting more than 5 minutes. Some days she had hundreds of small seizures. This turned our world upside down, as we struggled to understand the cause, requiring many hospital visits, different medications, and many long, sleepless nights for our family. At the start of this journey, we didn’t know anything about epilepsy or the challenges facing the more than 3.4 million people in the United States with this chronic illness (470,000 of whom are children).

Today Ali is a happy, healthy 8-year-old, with her condition under control, which means she’s not actively having seizures right now. In fact, she’s on track to be considered “cured” if she can stay seizure-free for another five years, which is an important milestone for our family. Very often, my wife and I remark on how fortunate we’ve been to work for companies that provided incredible health benefits and work flexibility while parenting a child with a serious chronic illness. We’ve been able to leverage our amazing network of family, friends, and co-workers who supported us during the toughest times, when many others have to make tradeoffs between career and financial stability and managing their child’s care and needs.  

We recognize that other families aren’t as fortunate.

Our direct experience with children with disabilities prompted us to double down on our charitable efforts — giving our time and charity to important organizations in our community. We’ve been longtime financial supporters of Easterseals UCP of North Carolina and Virginia, and my wife has served many years as a member of their board of directors.

Easterseals UCP of North Carolina and Virginia provides meaningful and exceptional services so that children, adults and families living with disabilities, behavioral health challenges and autism can live, learn work and play in their communities. The organization, and the wonderful staff that works there, believes children and adults with disabilities and mental health challenges can be engaged and contributing members of their families and the community, and we really felt it was important for us to support their work.  

“We champion people to be well and thrive every single day” may be our corporate purpose, but it resonates with me on a personal level as well. Many of us face challenges and adversity, like my family had to face, but not all are fortunate to belong to a community like we have here at Clorox, and that is something to celebrate.