“We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill
Many moons ago, when I was first diagnosed with MS, I recruited my friends and family to help me raise money for WalkMS and the nonprofit MS Center where I was a patient. I felt a “call to action” and a desperate need to not only spread awareness about multiple sclerosis but also to raise money for more research into the cause and cure of it. I made phone calls, sent letters (pre-Internet!), paid visits to companies – always working tirelessly to make a difference. My father orchestrated a stylish sit-down dinner for a few hundred donors at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, overlooking the Manhattan skyline and what felt like an arm's distance to the Statue of Liberty. It was complete with white tablecloths, fine wine and a five-star meal. The fundraiser was a huge success and made headlines in New Jersey and New York, raising a lot of money for the MS Center.
On a cold day in January 1960, newly elected President John F. Kennedy proclaimed in his Inaugural Address a “Call to Service,” stating, “…ask NOT what your country can do for you. Ask what YOU can do for your country.” That memorable and often quoted phrase loomed large in my house. I was only a year old in 1960, but I remember a lot of discussion over the years about JFK and his influence on volunteerism. His concept of the Peace Corps (a volunteer program geared toward helping other countries understand America while teaching Americans to understand other countries) was established by Executive Order in March 1961. It has expanded and continues to exist today.
Americans with multiple sclerosis, along with their families and friends, have answered the call to action President Kennedy spoke about 52 years ago. Every day you read online or see on TV people doing extraordinary deeds for the cause of raising money to find a cure to MS. There are so many reputable MS organizations that work hard on expanding MS programs, accessible housing, financial help, support groups, peer resources and, of course, research.
Some prominent groups include the National MS Society, MS Association of America (MSAA), MS Foundation, The Myelin Project and CCSVI Alliance just for starters. There are international organizations as well, such as Israel MS Society, MS Resource Centre, MS Trust and MS International Federation. The list is growing every day - there are too many to list them all here. Suffice it to say that they are ALL in our corner.
My Question of the Week is: Have you ever answered the “Call to Action” and helped with fundraising for an organization? What did you do, and what organization did you do it for? Were you pleased with the result, and were you satisfied that the money you raised was going toward the program(s) that interested you?