Paying it forward for family & community
George Mylonas, President of Calgary’s Landstar Development Corporation, wanted to do more than participate in Kidney March again this year. He decided to ‘kick it up a notch’ by sponsoring Closing Ceremonies – Kidney March’s marquee event for marchers and their families.
Mylonas became the driving force behind “Team Christina” last year when one of his relatives, Voula Douvis-Tzigalanis, whose daughter has kidney disease, had foot surgery and was unable to participate as she had in the past. “I thought it was a shame our family couldn’t participate in something that meant so much to her, and to our whole family,” he says. “Plus it sounded like fun, so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”
Last year Mylonas surprised himself by surpassing his fundraising goal of $40,000 by 200%. (He was actually finalizing pledges as he was marching.) This year he’s aiming even higher. He insists it doesn’t matter how much money anyone gives, whether it’s $1 or $10,000, the feeling of doing something good to help your neighbour, and your community, is the same.
“As Landstar reached out to our extended community, neighbours, friends and business colleagues, to tell them the story of the Kidney March and why we were involved, they always asked how they could help. Many people revealed they had their own personal connection to the cause. It was humbling to see so many people rise to the call just because of our simple request.”
While stepping in for Voula was his motivation last year, Mylonas was motivated by that experience to do even more this year.
“Marching gives you a lot of time to think,” Mylonas jokes he felt like Moses searching for his people in the desert. “You talk to a lot of people affected by kidney disease, and see first-hand how resilient they are. Even though I was slightly uncomfortable walking for three days straight, and sleeping in a cute little tent with rain pounding over my head, I realized that all of what I was experiencing was just a fraction of the discomfort kidney patients feel. It gives you a real sense of urgency to act and to do something meaningful to make a bigger difference,” he says.
Speaking as the President of a successful Calgary-based company he runs with his brother, Mylonas notes, “Landstar has been fortunate as a company. Our business has done well, but we didn’t do it all ourselves. No one does. Landstar takes its definition of community very seriously; it’s about more than giving money. It’s about getting involved, giving our time, expertise, and funds to help make our community a bit better. If we help even one person in the community, the community is stronger because of it. With Kidney March, we have the opportunity to participate alongside many of the people we are supporting, see and hear about the impact our support has made in their lives — and the bonus is, we have some fun doing it.”
Speaking as a parent of five children, he adds, “It’s also really important for me to set an example for my children, and pass on a more enduring definition of community to them so they can carry it forward when they have the opportunity.”
It’s very likely the whole Mylonas crew, as well as Landstar’s many business associates, will be on site with hundreds of other families and friends to cheer their Kidney Marchers, including George and Voula, across the finish line on September 10.
About Landstar Development Corporation:
Landstar Development Corporation is a real estate development firm with over two decades of steady growth and expertise in commercial retail real estate, land development and destination-oriented real estate products. Landstar focuses on the development of long-term, high-quality investment grade assets that provide clients with a high-profile location, energy-efficient building, and people-friendly atmosphere.