“Just a mom and dad doing everything we can to save our son from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.”
Learning to Live Again
Our son Braedan was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy 9 years ago. We were immediately overcome by shock and remained stuck in a state of confusion and anxiety for about the first year following his diagnosis. Overtime, we began to recognize the many ways worry had been affecting our lives. We realized we weren’t really living life; we were just alive.
Many of us in the Duchenne community have relatively similar stories. It can take a while to begin figuring things out and even though the shock eventually subsides, it seems fear is always there in some way trying to grab hold of us. The thing about fear is, if you let it take control, you can become numb to feeling happiness and it can distract you from experiencing the true blessings of parenthood. My husband and I refuse to allow that to happen, not to us or anyone else who loves someone living with Duchenne. We turned our fear into fire and our anger into fuel to fight for our son’s life and the lives of everyone affected by Duchenne.
Build a Bridge Over Duchenne
A lot of progress has been made toward finding a cure for Duchenne and I believe it will happen, but we can’t just standby and wait for it. We have to take action! We decided to start a foundation to help raise awareness and fund research. We weren’t sure what to call it, but knew we wanted Braedan’s name associated with it. Then, one day while driving over a bridge, I began thinking to myself, if only treating Duchenne were as easy as placing a bridge over Braedan’s genetic mutation. That was it – Braedan’s Bridge.
Thanks to the very generous and thoughtful people who support Braeden’s Bridge and our annual event, All in for Duchenne, we’ve been able to raise well over $300,000 and have directly funded Duchenne research projects. Just a mom and dad doing everything we can to save our son from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
You Can Help Cure Duchenne
Additional funding dedicated to Duchenne research could greatly reduce the time it takes to develop a cure. Fundraising is something everyone can participate in and it can be very impactful. I put together a few tips based on my fundraising experience to help you out.
Tips for Successful Fundraising
Sometimes we underestimate ourselves and at times we may feel uncomfortable with the ask, but what you have to do is think about who you are doing this for, whether it’s your son, grandson, brother, nephew, etc. Once you step out of your comfort zone and do it a few times, it will become much easier.
Who to Ask
Ideas can be found everywhere and all day long. I come across possible donors daily while watching T.V, flipping through magazines, talking with friends, or just driving down the road. Whenever you have an idea, be sure to make a note of it. You can use your phone or carry a notepad with you. I’ve done both.
Businesses are constantly being asked for support whether event sponsorship, cash donations, or in-kind gifts. Your donation request needs to stand out and really catch their interest in the first sentence or two. Make it to the point, and don’t forget the ask. Attach an event flyer as well. Always let them know exactly what you are looking for and be sure to thank them in advance for their time and consideration.
Some businesses have donation request form right on their website that will generally walk you through the process. It will automatically send you an email thanking you for your request and say when you should hear back from them.
Calling Local Businesses
Always ask to speak with the manager. Start out by telling them you are local family raising funds and awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Tell them a bit about your story but be brief and to the point. Be sure to point out that this is a disease that has no cure. Sadly, this makes them more apt to donate. Don’t forget the ask and be specific on what you are looking for.
Maximizing Donations During the Event
There’s an endless number of fundraisers that take place throughout the year and many worthy causes that need support. Chances are, your guests get invited to a lot of different fundraisers. It’s important for yours to stand out from the others. Make sure it’s little different in some way. Make it memorable, entertaining, and impactful. If they enjoy their experience at your event, they’re more likely to give more, return next year, and encourage other people to join them.
Consider giving guests more than just admission to the event for the price of a ticket. For example, All in for Duchenne tickets cost $100 per couple, which includes admittance to the event, an entry into the reverse raffle, dinner & drinks for the evening, and a Braedan’s Bridge t-shirt. Packages like this are convenient for guests, enhance perceived value, and it also ensures everyone goes home with a branded item to serve as a reminder and promote awareness.
Tell Them Why Their Support Matters
Have a Speaker at the beginning of the event. The speaker can be you, your son, someone from his care team, or a researcher to discuss the research you are funding. An emotional appeal at the beginning of the event can be very impactful and may deepen donor pockets.
We try to keep a variety of great items ranging from low to higher costs. That way, everyone feels like they have a chance to win. We have over 150 items at both our auction lineups. We make sure everyone walks away with something to remind them of our event until next year.
Make it Easy to Give
We accept credit cards at our event. Recently, we also made cash withdrawals available for debit card users, which was huge! It helped us profit much more!
Include activities that most everyone can participate in. We try to make sure our guests are having fun by encouraging them to remain active and playing games throughout the evening. Also, we have volunteers that move around the room throughout the evening giving guests the opportunity to get involved in games while still in their seats.
Express Your Appreciation
Always thank your guests for attending and supporting your cause. We believe that it is good to do this at the beginning of the event and at the very end as well.
Review and Adjust
After your event is over, while everything is still fresh in your mind, it’s good to write down anything that you feel could have went better or that you would like to change in any way.
Most Importantly – Always Focus on Your Mission
Remind yourself… you’re just doing everything you can to save someone you love from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.