Fundraiser Sponsors

We just wanted to take a moment to thank our sponsors to date for our three upcoming fundraisers for Mackenzie and her 2018 Walk to Cure Arthritis team.

First we have to thank Lacey and her fantastic Create.a.frame Studio.  Lacey is helping us host the two painting events: Pizza and Painting and Cocktails and Canvas.

Next we need to thank our wonderful host locations….Fricano’s Muskegon Lake for our March 12 Give Back Night.  Fricano’s is graciously donating 20% of that evenings sales for both dine-in and carry out to the Arthritis Foundation on behalf of Mackenzie.  The Northside Pub for hosting our Pizza and Painting for a Cure event on March 24.  Our guests will get to paint with a partner a beautiful, fun fish while enjoying a fantastic pizza buffet.  And finally Create.a.frame Studio for hosting us on Friday, April 13 for our Cocktails and Canvas evening where we will be painting a gorgeous painting of a sailboat at sunset while enjoying appetizers and refreshments.

Finally we need to thank all of our wonderful auction sponsors for our Silent and Chinese Auctions and Door Prizes at our two Painting events:  The Grand Rapids Griffins, Sandborn Jewelers, Lewis Farm Market, Kangaroo Palace, Hobo’s Tavern, Jumpin’ Jupiter, and the Village Baker.

We really appreciate all of the fantastic support and donations from these sponsors.  Looking forward to enjoying time with everyone while we work towards a cure for arthritis!

Great New Ways to Help Find a Cure!!!!

The past several months have found us working on numerous new ways to support finding a cure for arthritis.  We have created new fundraisers, a new shop on Etsy where proceeds are being donated to research, and we’ve registered for another year of Walking for a Cure.

Please keep an eye out on our events page for all of the latest information as we will be sure to post all info there.

Our first stop for you to check out is our 20×20 fundraising campaign with the Arthritis National Research Foundation.  We have set a goal of raising $400 through this campaign.  Over 90% of funds raised go directly towards research in finding a cure.  To join our campaign simply follow this link https://curearthritis.salsalabs.org/2020/t/mackenziessidekicks.  The goal is to have everyone donate just $20 then start a 20×20 campaign of their own.  Help us find that cure!

Our second stop for you to check out is our all new Etsy shop.  Here we are selling Washable Comfort bags in all different sizes and patterns.  These comfort bags are great for soothing the aches and pains associated with arthritis, sore muscles, headaches, pregnancy, cramps and much more.  They are made with a muslin insert filled with plain white rice then inserted into a washable decorative outer pocket.  Throw the muslin rice filled bag in the freezer and store for times when an injury calls for an ice pack and it’s mess free.  To visit the shop please follow this link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MackenzieSidekicks.  Half of all proceeds at  this shop are being donated to the Arthritis National Research Foundation in honor of Mackenzie.

Finally, please be sure to check out our Walk Page for the 2018 Walk to Cure Arthritis in Grand Rapids.  The Walk has a new location this year.  We have moved to Millenium Park this year and it’s on a Sunday afternoon.  Great for those that have always had Saturday morning sports conflicts.  To check out our Team Page and to register for the walk, please follow this link: https://events.arthritis.org/team/mackenziessidekicks.

The rest of our exciting fundraisers will be announced soon on our events page.  We hope to see you out at one of these great events soon!

 

 

 

 

 

Presentation Day

Today Mackenzie is giving a presentation to the entire 1st grade at her school.  The Arthritis Foundation through it’s Kids Get Arthritis Too website created a beautiful PowerPoint presentation for kids to use to educate others about Juvenile Arthritis.  They are able to customize the presentation to fit them and their audience.

Last night we spent some time practicing the presentation.  She made adjustments to the presentation to make it easier for her to read or to fit her personality.  It was really fun to watch her grow just through the preparation of the presentation.  When we left school yesterday and she had just found out she was doing the presentation today, she was really upset and worried (the point of a few tears).  But as we talked about it more and started trying to put her fear into perspective she discovered that giving the presentation wasn’t nearly as scary as her quarterly blood draws are.  Then as she read through the presentation and adjusted it to make her own she got more and more excited and less and less worried.  Last night at bedtime she went through the presentation for her daddy and when she was done he asked her if she was excited.  Her response was “do you remember the glass of milk you gave me at dinner? Do you remember how much milk there was?  (there was just below half a glass).  Well the part that was milk, I am that much scared.  The other part, I am that excited”  This morning I asked her again.  This time her response was made using her orange juice glass.  It has pictures of oranges with the leaves on them on it.  She pointed to the very top of the decoration and the top of the glass and said “See this leaf?   I am excited all the way up to it and only scared this little part above it”.  There was about a half inch of space above the leaf.

When Mackenzie is done giving her presentation today she and I will be introducing a fundraising challenge to the first grade classes.  Next week in school they will be holding a Penny Wars.  All of the money collected during the Penny Wars will be credited to Mackenzie for her Walk to Cure Arthritis goal.  We are also hoping to get the rest of the elementary involved during the lunch periods next week by having them donate to their favorite first grade teacher/classroom.  This is a super exciting time for Mackenzie and we are truly blessed to have such an amazing school and supportive staff to work with there.

Spring has Sprung!

We had lots of fun today watching Mackenzie (and Paige) run and skip and have a blast at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, MI.  We renewed our annual membership and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny, Spring afternoon at the zoo.  The girls had a blast and we just loved watching her fell good, smile, and truly enjoy childhood.  Couldn’t ask for a better day!  Praying we can have just as much fun in 29 days when we return for the 2017 Walk to Cure Arthritis.  The girls love to visit the zoo and are already looking forward to what animals will have returned from their winter homes to add to the exhibits we saw today.  These days really do make my heart smile!

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30 Days

We are just 30 days away from the 2017 Walk to Cure Arthritis in Grand Rapids and we are getting excited for the event.  We would love to have a huge turn out for our team to support Mackenzie.  This has been a rough year for her with her relapse and the support means a lot even if she doesn’t always know how to show it or express it.

We are still over $2000 away from our fundraising goal  and coming up short of our participant goal and it’s hard.  (Losing out on our big fundraiser was heartbreaking for us)  We haven’t even managed to match last year.  I know we still have 30 days but I can’t help but feel we are coming up short and I know this money really does go to fund things that are important.  The Foundation has a history of advocating for and with patients at both the state and federal level.  They fund programs for those with arthritis including JA Power Packs for kids diagnosed with arthritis that include tools and information to help navigate a new diagnosis and a bear that can be warmed up to help comfort sore and achy joints.  They fund family and kids programs like the JA Conference where families all around the country can come together to learn and share with families all facing this terrible disease together and Camp Dakota and other JA Camps around the country…a special week of summer camp just for kids with active arthritis.  This camp allows kids with JA to experience summer camp and childhood in an environment where they won’t feel different or limited or excluded because of their JA.  And most importantly they fund critical research for relief of symptoms of the disease and ultimately the goal of a cure!  And we need a cure!

If you can spare a dollar or two now for a donation or an hour or two on May 6th to walk with us, please click on this link and join us.  Whether you believe it or not, even one dollar makes a huge impact and every person that walks with us May 6th makes an impression (especially in the eyes of a beautiful little girl).  http://www.walktocurearthritis.org/grandrapids/mackenziessidekicks

On a different note regarding the Walk, The Arthritis Foundation reached out to us and made us a new Face of Arthritis sign for the Walk.  It blows my mind to think that we are on year number five of fighting this horrible disease.  She sure has changed since her last sign was made three years ago:

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A Challenging Year…

This year we’ve found ourselves being “challenged” to raise funds for the Walk to Cure Arthritis.  It’s hard to believe that this will be our fifth Walk.  Last year we were walking in celebration of Mackenzie’s health at the time and the thought that she was on her way to remission.  This year we walk with a renewed purpose to find a cure after Mackenzie relapsed last summer.

Our first year, 2013 we raised over $6000.  Our “big” fundraiser that year was a Gently Used Book Sale and Bake Sale but the majority of our donations came simply from our asking.  For many the cause was new (many didn’t know a two year old could have arthritis).  In 2014 we hosted our first ever Mom2Mom Sale in March of that year.  It was a huge success with all of our seller spaces filled and a line at the door on sale day with shoppers waiting to come in and shop.  It was truly amazing.  It was also the year the Arthritis Foundation asked Mackenzie to be the Youth Honoree.  Her face was everywhere including on television.  That year we raised over $4500.  2015 was our second largest fundraising year with just shy of $5000 in donations.  That year we hosted two large fundraisers, our 2nd Annual Mom2Mom Sale and we published a cookbook – Cooking for a Cure with Mackenzie’s Sidekicks.   In both 2014 and 2015 we also partnered with area restaurants for Give Back events in which the restaurant gave our team a donation based on a percentage of food/beverages purchased on a specific date.  Last year was our “small” year.  It was small in donation support and small in team size.  We raised just over $1600 and had a team of twelve walk with us on Walk day.

This year we are just 40 days away from the 2017 Walk and we have raised $920 of our $3000 goal and have 5 registered walkers of our 20 walker goal.  Our largest annual fundraiser was cancelled due to a lack of participation (we couldn’t get enough sellers to fill the sale) and so we find ourselves having to work harder to raise the funds that go to help support the Arthritis Foundation in their work of education, advocacy and research and development towards a cure.  We know there are numerous causes out there continuously asking you for a donation….Relay for Life (American Cancer Society), Parkinson’s, Diabetes, and many more.  We feel it too.  Even the school system has the kids fundraising for not only the school but also the American Heart Association with Jump Rope for Heart.  We know you feel the pressure of all of these organizations (and all very worthy organizations) asking you to give and give and give.

The difference for us is that we also feel the hurt, the loss, the frustration of arthritis as we watch our almost seven year old daughter battle this invisible disease for what is now her fifth year.  Some of these other causes are very near and dear to us as well, as they raise funds for cures for illnesses and diseases that also have had or currently have an affect on our family, but this….the Walk to Cure Arthritis, is our #1.  We will continue to put it at the top of our list until we can find a cure!  We will continue to raise awareness that arthritis isn’t just an old person’s disease.  We will continue to raise awareness that there aren’t enough pediatric rheumatologists in the country to treat all of the children currently diagnosed and those that will be diagnosed in the future.  We will continue to fundraise to fund more research and development of medications that will give those suffering a better quality of life until a cure can be found.  And most of all we will fundraise to find the CURE!

If you can spare a dollar, or two, or more we ask that you consider helping us reach our $3000 goal by donating to the 2017 Walk to Cure in support of Mackenzie and her team.  We ask that if you are willing to host a fundraiser for us that you reach out to us and let us know (a blue jean day at the office, a coin challenge in your classroom(s) or office, a raffle, and event, etc), we will be happy to partner with you.  Every dollar helps, there is no such thing as too little of a donation.  We would also love to have you join us on May 6th at the Walk at John Ball Park/Zoo.  The event is a very easy stroll around the perimeter of John Ball Park and for those that donate/raise $30 or more you receive free admission to the Zoo for the rest of the day.  It’s just a couple hours out of your Saturday, one day of the year to come out and support Mackenzie and show her that she is not alone in her battle against arthritis.

To donate or join our team or both, simply follow this link: http://www.walktocurearthritis.org/grandrapids/mackenziessidekicks

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and as always thank you so much for your love and support of Mackenzie.  Together we can find a cure!

Adding a little fun and humor to our Quarterly Check Up at Mott Children's Hospital.

Adding a little fun and humor to our Quarterly Check Up at Mott Children’s Hospital.

4th Annual Mom2Mom Sale

It is a new year and so it is also time for our 4th Annual Mom2Mom Sale.  This year we are moving the sale back to March.  For the past two years we have had the sale in April with mixed results.  Two years ago we hosted the sale in Spring Lake at the Holiday Inn and had a good shopper response even though the sale was on a weekend of Spring Break.  The down side of that sale was the cost we had to pay for the room at the Holiday Inn.  It really cut into the funds we were raising for the Arthritis Foundation.  Last year we again attempted a sale in April back at our original location at Our Savior’s.  We had a great shopper turn out but due to so many other sales in the area (including a huge one in the mall sponsored by a local resale shop) we didn’t have a great seller response.  So this year we are going back to March and again returning to our original venue at Our Savior’s.  Our first sale here in 2014 was a huge success.  We had 20 sellers and over 200 shoppers.  Both sellers and shoppers alike went home happy that day and we were able to raise a wonderful amount of money towards finding a cure for arthritis.  Please help us make this sale another huge success by helping us spread the word.  We have a flyer posted here under our events tab and also an event page on Facebook.  Please share and invite everyone you know.  Thank you all for your continued support of Mackenzie and our goal of finding a cure!

Doing another one after all…

Well, we had a bit of local and regional competition for our first Mom2Mom Sale on April 16 so we’ve decided to do one more.  We had some very wonderful sellers at our sale on the 16th and they were very understanding.  Also we had a wonderful crowd of shoppers which was also heartwarming since we waived our admission fee due to so few sellers (due to the competition I mentioned earlier) and yet these wonderful shoppers still filled our donation jar up with wonderful donations to support Mackenzie.

Our next Mom2Mom Sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 21 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on Henry St.  It is a great location for a sale.  The building itself is very large (we are able to hold at least 50 seller booths of various sizes), it has a large parking lot (so plenty of great parking for all the shoppers), it is on a major north/south road through Norton Shores (Henry St), and it is right near Ross Park Elementary (where there are soccer fields that will be hosting youth soccer games all morning creating even more potential traffic for our sale as they drive by and see it).  We are super excited about being given this second chance at raising funds for the Arthritis Foundation.  If you know of anyone that may be interested in joining us a seller/vendor at this event, please have them visit us here and either pull the registration form from our Forms Tab or send a message through our Contact Us Tab.  We would love nothing more then to fill this sale to capacity with sellers/vendors to give our shoppers the best shopping experience possible.

2016 Mom2Mom Sale

Remission on Medication

This past Friday was our BIG trip to Ann Arbor and Mackenzie’s Quarterly Check Up at Mott Children’s Hospital Rheumatology Department.  At her visit we were told that she is now considered in remission on medication.  This is great news!  It also means the decision has been made to completely stop her Enbrel.  YIPEE!!!!!  Yes, there was a lot of celebrating being done after hearing this.  It is a great feeling knowing she won’t have to endure her bi-weekly injections or her quarterly lab work.  Of course the happiest one of all was Mackenzie knowing she no longer has to have any “pokes”.

What all of this good news does not mean….well first of all her status right now is remission on medication.  In order to be in full remission she has to go all the way until April 2nd of 2017 without any return of symptoms to be considered in full remission.  That is a long time from now but yet it is also a lot shorter then the almost four years she has been battling this terrible disease.   It also means that she is not cured.  There is no cure for arthritis.  Even if she is able to achieve full remission, Mackenzie will still have arthritis in her body and will always have to live with the knowledge that it could come back at anytime.

We are very excited by the fact that Mackenzie is doing so well and has endured so many treatments, doctors visits, physical and occupational therapy, and lab work like a real super hero.  She is an inspiration to us and to many that she meets.  Remission or no remission she and the rest of the family will continue to work, advocate and fundraise for the Arthritis Foundation so that one day we will have that cure!

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The face of happiness upon receiving the news that she no longer had to take her arthritis medications.

Exciting additions to the Mom2Mom Sale

We have added some additional booth space to the Mom2Mom Sale so we are opening it up to a limited number of sellers that are interested in selling new and gently used household items, clothing, books, etc. (basically we are adding a few “indoor yard sale” style booths).   These new booths will still when possible measure the approx. 10×10 and in some cases they will measure a bit smaller but will still offer and equivalent amount of selling space as our 10×10 booths would.  If you are interested in participating in this event as either a Mom reseller or a Yard Sale booth please visit our Files tab for a registration packet or send us a message via our Contact Us tab.