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Archive: April, 2012

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What can you do in 60 minutes?

60 Minutes. 1 hour.  It doesn’t sound like much, but a great deal can be accomplished in that time.  You could watch an episode of Glee, play a house league soccer game, take a pottery class or practice yoga.  Or you could also use that amount of time to volunteer.

If you donated just 60 minutes a week of your time, which is only 52 hours of the 8760 hours in a year, you would be giving back to your community and supporting fundraising, support programs and services for clients and their families.  You would also collect volunteer hours for school, gain new skills and experience for your resume, network with community members and leaders, and make new friends.

In 60 minutes a volunteer can:

  • Call 35 people to invite them to a Health and Information Day
  • Send 40 thank you letters to Walk for Muscular Dystrophy participants
  • Stuff 70 envelopes in a mail campaign to bring wider awareness of Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s mission
  • Paint the faces of 15 children at a Walk for Muscular Dystrophy
  • Attend a chapter meeting to plan a BBQ fundraising event
  • Make a difference and have a feel good day!

You have 168 hours in your week.  What could you accomplish if you offered just one of them to Muscular Dystrophy Canada?

International Community Rallying to see Young Girl’s Dream Come True: Biebs for Mia

Mia Pruder is a young girl who has a dream to meet her idol, Canadian superstar Justin Bieber.  Mia’s supporters have created websites, Facebook groups and events, and endless Tweets to see this wish come true.

On Mia’s website she is described as “a five-year-old little girl fighting Muscular Dystrophy and Mitochondria Deficiency Syndrome. Mia was born in Brantford, Ontario to Heather and Derek Pruder and now resides in Kingston. She has been on a ventilator for almost 4 weeks, unable to breathe on her own. Mia has had 4 necessary and life saving surgeries since entering CHEO. Despite all the challenges, hurdles and surgeries that she has had to go through, she is still smiling, living life to the fullest and wishing for dreams to come true.”

Her Facebook Group, “Biebs for Mia,” has over 24,000 supporters who are sending good thoughts, well wishes and hundreds of tweets a day to get the attention of Justin Bieber in the hopes he will come visit the fan that has started calling herself “Mrs. Mia Bieber.”

Recently, Justin tweeted a response to the “Biebs for Mia” campaign and her thousands of supporters have their fingers crossed waiting for news that Mia’s idol has fulfilled her wish!

It’s amazing what can be accomplished by a group of strangers inspired by a little girl’s dream and focused on a common goal.  Thousands of people who have never met and most likely will never meet Mia are truly invested in seeing her wish come to life and experiencing from afar the joy she will feel if she meets her favourite singer.

This year, Mia is the Ambassador for the Kingston Walk for Muscular Dystrophy which will be held Saturday, June 23rd.  If you’re in the Kingston area, register or sponsor someone at the Walk.  This is another opportunity to support Mia and others who are affected by muscular dystrophy and to raise awareness so a cure can be found in our lifetime.

Young Volunteer Receives Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award

This week is National Volunteer Week! Muscular Dystrophy Canada is celebrating by saluting our volunteers and showcasing profiles of just a few examples of the wonderful people who dedicate time to fulfilling our organization’s mission.

We received exciting news based on another of our great volunteers this week as well.  Kalliana King of Cowichan Bay, B.C. was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award.

According to the Governor General’s website, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Often working behind the scenes, these individuals volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens. The award also brings to light the example set by volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are a part of our Canadian character.

28 volunteers from across Canada received the award during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on April 17, 2012.  Kalliana is one of the youngest to receive the award at only 11 years old.  When Kalliana was eight years old she made a goal to raise $500 for Muscular Dystrophy Canada in honour of her friend, Adam, by dyeing her hair pink and then promising to shave her hair off if she made her goal.  Kalliana’s dedication and spirit inspired the community, and she ended up raising over $14,000!

Congratulations to Kalliana on this honour.  Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s website shares Kalliana’s whole story.

Working Together Towards a Common Goal

The weekend of the Annual General Meeting also hosts a dinner where the recipients of the Dr. David Green Awards are given their awards and a chance to address the audience. These national awards, which recognize the efforts of several extraordinary volunteers, clients, Fire Fighters, corporate supporters, and researchers, are handed out annually.  I had the honour of attending the banquet in Toronto of September 2011, and was blown away by the dedication and passion shown by all in attendance.  All the winners had heartfelt words to share, but one speech really stood out.

The McGonigal family including Angela and her son Owen, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, won both the National and Ontario “Courage to Inspire” awards.  Owen summed up his feelings with a succinct “thank you,” while Angela said thanks by sharing a poignant story with the group.  Angela explained that while her family took a rest before the Awards dinner they discussed what they should say as they accepted their award.  Angela received a text message right at that moment from Fire Fighter friends letting the family know the regional Boot Drive campaign was going well.  Angela told the audience that was just how being part of Muscular Dystrophy Canada was, even when you need to take a rest yourself, you know there are friends who are still working for the cause.

It’s a terrific way of recognizing the many pieces of the puzzle that come together in one unrelenting effort to reach Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s vision “to find a cure for neuromuscular disorders in our lifetime.”

Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is coming quickly: Sign up early!

The 2012 Walk for Muscular Dystrophy season starts on May 5, 2012! The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is a fully accessible event for teams of family, friends, co-workers or classmates to gather for a day of fun, fellowship, and fundraising.  The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy aims to raise funds for research and services for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, but it also raises awareness and connects participants with others united by neuromuscular disorders. There is just over a month to get ready if you are participating in the Toronto Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, which is the kick off location for this year, the fifth as the National Signature Event.

The added bonus of signing up early is being eligible for the Early Bird Contest!  Simply register online by the early bird date, which is at least 30 days prior to the date of your local Walk event, for your chance to be entered into the contest.  You could WIN airfare for TWO to anywhere that Air Canada flies in North America, including the Caribbean!

The other important reason to sign up early is that you have more fundraising time!  Fundraising is an important aspect of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy.  It can be helpful to utilize social media networks so post about why the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is important to you on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ accounts.  Your enthusiasm is contagious, and by rallying your social networks you can inspire others to participate, volunteer and donate.  Visit www.muscle.ca/walk to learn more and register!

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