WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 30, 2010) -- The Army is launching its Combined Federal Campaign drive for the National Capital Area Oct. 1 with a goal of raising $3 million for charities worldwide.

The Army's campaign here for Soldiers and Department of the Army employees will run through Dec. 15.

"You give when times are good, you give when no one could fault you for saying 'not this year,' and I hope you'll give even more now when you see so many of your neighbors are counting on you," said Joyce E. Morrow, administrative assistant to the Secretary of the Army during the kickoff ceremony at the Pentagon Wednesday.

Since its inception in 1961, the CFC has raised more than $6 billion, for more than 2,000 charities.

"Each year members of the Army Family have stepped forward and extended their commitment to public service by generously donating and in doing so, they have transformed the lives of countless individuals," Morrow said.

President Barack Obama also gave a video address to federal employees during the ceremony.

"In tough times our charities need all that you can give," the president urged.

Eric Cole, the chief information officer for the Office of Research Services at the National Institutes of Health, gave a personal example of how CFC can change lives.

In 2005, Cole's son Ryan was diagnosed with Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain malformation, while still in the womb. Cole said doctors recommended terminating the pregnancy, but he and his wife declined.

When born, Ryan needed costly medical treatment, and ultimately spent his first 156 days of life in the hospital, undergoing two brain surgeries.

"You pull up a chair when it's dark at night, and you're watching your child on a ventilator and with every breath, you are just hoping he'll be okay," recounted Cole about the wearisome period.

Ryan, now 5 years old and in kindergarten, received treatment from the Children's National Medical Center, a hospital that accepts support from CFC.

"I am very fortunate because you and the work that you've done have given me and my wife the beautiful son that we have today," Cole said.

Cole and his wife Andrea are now advocates for the syndrome and started the Dandy-Walker Alliance to raise awareness.

"What you can't do is put a price tag on a hug," Cole explained of giving. "Even small amounts make a difference."

This year's $3 million goal is slightly lower than in 2009 due to the re-location of federal employees affected by Base Realignment and Closure.

Page last updated Thu September 30th, 2010 at 17:02