Laclede Gas and our employees team up on volunteer and charitable projects that make a difference in our community.
Laclede Gas and our employees each year raise money for the United Way of Greater St. Louis through special events and our employee campaign. In addition, we assist the United Way with leadership and manpower for its annual campaign. We encourage our employees to volunteer at United Way agencies and serve on boards overseeing programs and allocations so they can make a difference in our community.
The Laclede Group Foundation is sponsoring a 2-day cycling charity event on September 27 and 28. Each team is paired with a child going through cancer treatment. Laclede's team is riding in honor of 19-year-old Sam Merkel. He was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2013. See Sam's story here or watch the clip below.
Visit Team Laclede's page on the Pedal The Cause website today.
Donations are welcome with all proceeds going to Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children's Hospital. Pedal the Cause gives 100% of participant donations to accelerate lifesaving cancer research.
19-year-old Sam Merkel lives life to the fullest. A proud Eagle Scout, Sam spends time outdoors riding his bike or fishing on the river. He is also a technology lover who plays video games, watches Star Trek and enjoys disappearing into a sci-fi book. In other words, he’s a lot like many teenage boys, but there is one experience that makes him different.
In July of 2013, Sam fell while doing yard work and experienced sharp pains that would not go away. When the swelling in his leg grew larger, his family took him to the hospital. Sam was given a CT scan that showed he had a broken bone from the accident, but also found a cancerous tumor the size of a grapefruit. The mass covered the area above his knee and it was clear emergency surgery was necessary. In an instant, the life Sam knew began to change.
He went through several surgeries to remove the tumor and all the cartilage in his knee was replaced. The road to recovery took time but Sam’s procedures went well, many months later doctors were pleased to report Sam was cancer free. Today, Sam still shows no signs of bone cancer and July 2014 marked the one-year anniversary of his initial diagnosis. Sam is now working to regain strength in his left leg, using a brace and cane to build daily improvement. He is a fighter and continues to remain optimistic after minor setbacks; he recently returned to the hospital for treatment of a staph infection and approached the process with more vigor than ever before.
“I get regular scans to make sure it (cancer) hasn’t come back. The doctors fixed my kneecap and I feel good, in fact I’m getting stronger each day,” said Sam.
Sam’s story is a successful one but there are many families who have lost loved ones to cancer. That’s why Sam wants to help find a cure. He will participate in Pedal the Cause this September, enjoying one of his favorite pastimes, bike riding. Sam will be riding with thousands of others who share one goal— ending cancer.
Sam will also have the support of Laclede Gas employees, who are sponsoring and riding in the event. The Laclede Gas team will join Sam for this memorable day. And he’s pretty familiar with the trail— Sam participated in Pedal the Cause in 2012 in support of his grandfather who survived throat cancer. The experience of riding with his grandfather was memorable, he was glad to help make a difference by participating, even before receiving his own diagnosis.
“Crossing the finish line feels like a big accomplishment. Knowing you’re able to complete the ride and help raise money for important research that affects the whole world… that’s just a great thing,” said Sam.
Each day Sam gets further in the recovery process and hopes to ride again this year, Pedal the Cause has become a part of his life and he encourages others to join.
Laclede Gas is proud to sponsor the event and partner with Sam, some participants have created a bond even before the race begins.
“Sam is a great young man; it’s apparent as soon as you meet him, said George Godat, vice president of origination at Laclede Energy Resources. "Once I heard his story it was clear how strong Sam was and what a role model he can be for others. I’m glad I’ve been able to get to know him and will be able to ride alongside him in September.”
Anyone can donate to Pedal the Cause with a monetary gift or raise funds by joining Laclede Gas and Sam as they ride for the families touched by this disease.
“It’s important because most people don’t know what it’s like to go through cancer, some people will never see it in their lifetime but everyone knows someone who has, ” said Sam. “For other kids who might be going through this, I would tell them to keep thinking positive and remain in contact with your friends, they will be a big help to you.”
Sam has exciting plans for the future. He will attend Lutheran Court Community College in the fall with plans to become a computer engineer but will always make time to help others by sharing his powerful story.
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