Fundraising funds the future

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By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer

When thinking of fundraising, there is no one way it can be done. However, the support, dedication, and love is all the same. We are all passionate about something and using our abilities to give back to our community is crucial when looking in the eye of the future.

One simple act of kindness can shed light onto anything that is calling our attention. On Sunday, September 17, I proudly hosted my 3rd Annual HOPE on the Horizon Fun Run and Walk benefitting the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) and Bristol Community College.

Eosinophil Associated Diseases (EADs) are a series of illnesses in which the eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, appear in abnormally high amounts in any organ inside or outside of the body. At five years old, I witnessed what it is to almost lose your best friend. My mom was diagnosed with hypereosinophilia syndrome (HES), a form of EAD’s, which is a rare blood disease.

It was then that I knew I wanted to be an advocate for my mom and help to find the cure. Since high school I have donated my time to hosting and chairing five fundraisers for APFED.

I have been able to raise more than $21,000 even before this most recent fundraiser for APFED’s HOPE on the Horizon Research fund to help find a cure.

My mom is a warrior and inspires me to give back. I want to break the silence to these series of disorders and with that comes the three D’s: determination, dedication, and drive. I always tell people once you find your passion to go get it. I always have pictures taken of my fundraisers, because they can say a thousand words. It is that one picture that captivates people to join in on the fun to help find the cure.

It is through fundraising that we are able to help improve the lives of others, build a community of supporters, help fund research, and ultimately find a cure.

Through my fundraisers, I have been able to network and those that have come back each year have become extended family to my family and I.

We laugh, cry, hug, kiss and the amount of love and support that I receive is overwhelming. The fact that there is someone out there that “gets it” and cares means all the world to a survivor.

Fundraising in itself is rewarding after all is said and done, especially when the day arrives and you look out and see all those that you have helped and see their smiling faces. For a day they feel normal and the best gift you can give them is a friend. You make a difference!

I can honestly say that fundraising has become a part of who I am. Once you try it, you can’t stop, and you notice that you are challenging yourself to climb higher mountains each year. It is my mom, the young children diagnosed with these disorders, my loving family, friends, and the survivors that inspire me to keep up my fundraising efforts.

You can’t do it alone. It is a community’s job to come together and support one another in a time of need. There is so much that can be done and if we can just leave our mark in the smallest of ways, it will make the biggest difference. It is so much more humbling to give than to receive.

Money is a materialistic object and should be used for the power of good. That dress you saw on the rack at Express can wait. You have a closet full right now. Instead of spending money on  something you don’t necessarily need, donate some money (or time) to helping someone who needs it more.

We can’t say there is no time. I get it, we are college students, and time is precious. I know, it really is, but whether you are chairing an event or donating your time, you have to take part in something.

There is the time in-between, it is causes such as this that make fundraising essential in bettering the life of others.

Illnesses, natural disasters, and poverty do exist and we need to show  that we do care, and that we are here to provide support all the way!

Believe it or not, even a simple social media post reaching out to everyone on your friends list can make a difference. Instead of taking that selfie or whatever else you are doing on your Friday night, post a flyer to an upcoming fundraiser that could use the attention it deserves. This will, in turn, encourage people to do the same and we can make a real difference. 

A simple act of kindness begins with you. I challenge you this semester to take the time to help show your support to one of the many organizations that are working together to be the change.

Remember to be the change you must create the change. Who’s with me? If you are interested in taking the challenge please feel free to email me at mlesieur@umassd.edu on ways you can take part.

Photo Courtesy: Michaella Lesieur

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