62 - San Jose, CA
"That Christmas in 2002 made me realize that I had a lot to give. While fundraising, I had been espousing to corporate contributors, "to whom much is given, much is expected", and then one morning I realized, I just woke up in a heat-controlled house, choice of clothes in my closet, a fridge full of food, a car to drive to my job with money in my pocket and I thought, Sue, to whom much is given, much is expected! The light went on! That realization made me understand my place in the world and that the joy I felt while serving others was the greatest gift you could get. "
In 2005, Sue Runsvold began an effort to recapture the spirit of Christmas and giving for her family. Sue was raised in a low-income family and dreaded the annual inquiries at Christmastime about how many presents she got. She grew up, became a registered nurse, had kids and vowed that her own children would never know that embarrassing feeling. But in 2002, when she arrived at her daughter's house for Christmas dinner, Sue was unable to even open the door for all of the presents bestowed upon her grandchildren. She talked with her family about doing things differently and the next year began taking donations towards bikes for the local fire station toy drive. By 2005, her efforts had grown so large that she began TurningWheels For Kids (TWFK) to provide a brand new bike for every low-income, at-risk child that needs or wants one.
Why bikes? Because everyone remembers getting their first bicycle. And TWFK has grown from just providing bikes to holding bike build days with corporate partners and bike repair workshops on weekends with volunteer bike mechanics in local low-income neighborhoods. They support two pediatric clinics dealing with childhood obesity, hold fundraisers and accept used bikes to refurbish for kids. They even accommodate an adapted physical education program for special needs kids with cerebral palsy, down syndrome, autism, etc., and do a long-distance outreach program with other communities in need.
Sue serves as the director of TWFK, doing whatever work needs to be done. She works full-time as a registered nurse, but spends as much time as possible working for TWFK. She has put together an all-volunteer board that oversees the work done in the community and works countless hours fundraising, establishing relationships and overseeing all aspects of community involvement. That's why Sue is a 2012 Woman of Worth!