Last week, Cedar Point Country Club in Suffolk, Virginia, USA, hosted the 1st Annual Teed Off at MS Golf and Tennis fundraising event. It was phenomenal. There was a sea of orange wherever you looked. There was much awareness raising going on. There was much fundraising going on – and there was a whole lot of fun going on too.
I’ve done the MS Challenge Walks in the past where I walked 30 miles in 2 days and raised money that way. It was a motivational way to train, and I raised over $10,000 each time I did it. Unfortunately, that event no longer exists in southeastern Virginia, so I was in the market for something new. My husband is the golf pro at Cedar Point. He and the President of the Ladies Golf Association there, Cathy Whittington, whose mother had MS, worked together to make this event happen. It was such a gift of support and love to me – and, as it turns out, to the entire MS community. We don’t have the exact numbers just yet, but I assure you, we raised a lot of money that day. There was the golf event, the tennis clinic, a dinner with a band and a silent auction. A number of people who couldn’t attend just donated directly. That money is designated for the Nancy Davis Foundation. I chose this particular foundation because they formed the Center Without Walls which is a coalition of MS researchers, physicians and scientists that work together on innovative and therapeutic approaches and treatments to eradicate this disease.
I’ve seen it time and again: researchers in competition for grant money, holding on to key pieces of research that may actually help move us closer to a cure. One researcher may have the puzzle piece that another researcher is looking for to unlock the next step in our bid to find a cure. Research not being shared is slowing us down. We don’t have time for that nonsense. I align myself with collaborators like the Nancy Davis Foundation. I believe if we work together, we’ll reach our destination a lot faster. I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of in a hurry for this cure thing!!
Fundraising is key – and getting those funds into the right hands is of vital importance to us all. I encourage you to plan what you can, do what your able, and participate in finding the cure. It’s absolutely exhilarating not be a victim of this disease – at least in this way. Gain energy and strength from making a direct impact on finding the cure. A bake sale, forego gift exchanges in lieu of donating funds, a car wash, a walk, whatever you can do – every dollar helps. But please – be wary of who you’re supporting. Do your due diligence into where the money is going. There are a lot of organizations out there that are purely there to take your money. Additionally, there are a number of organizations whose administration fees are way out of alignment with the purpose of finding a cure. There are also a lot of really great organizations who could really use your help. I can personally recommend the Nancy Davis Foundation, but wherever you donate, just donate. Time and talent is an important resource to donate as well. Fundraising not your forte? These organizations need help spreading the word too. Maybe you could visit various internet forums on their behalf and let others know their mission. We can – and should – all help – ourselves and each other. Nothing more important – or life affirming – and MS kicking – than working, in some palpable way, toward the cure yourself. I know a lot of you have supported the cure-finding effort as well. Please, share your story with the rest of the community here. And thanks for moving us closer to the day we can just say FUMS and be done!
Special thanks to Cathy Whittington, the Cedar Point Ladies Golf Association, Cedar Point Country Club, all volunteers, participants, donors, friends, family and especially my husband, T.J. and my sweet girls, Maggie Mae and Reagan.