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!