In July of 2012, our daughter Alison Price was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia. Alison has experienced increasing neurological changes since that time. She struggles to walk on her own, but keeps trying and uses equipment and help as needed. Unfortunately, her heart is affected as well.
My sister Jill Gould, who lives in Largo, Florida and has been helping different groups raise money over the past decade, quickly jumped on board with our FAmily. We discussed a number of ways in which we could raise money. Jill had gotten into running so we decided we would find a half marathon to run and put a Team FARA together. Alison named us Team Mustangs after her interest in horses at that time. We decided that the Savannah Rock and Roll Half-Marathon in November 2013 would be our first race as Team Mustangs for Alison. Savannah is half way between Largo, Florida and Wake Forest, North Carolina. Jill gathered her team in Florida, I gathered mine from Raleigh, and we met in the middle with our sister Amy, a Georgia resident.
Jill started having garage sales with items that people had donated to her. She also held donation nights at local restaurants, painting for a cause at a local art studio, and of course, sending out letters to friends and families. Her group in Florida reached out to all of their friends and family as well. My wife Wendi and I started with an email letter and Facebook posts. She then wrote a letter, including photos, that explained our situation, defined FA, and described how we wanted to help FARA. We sent it to all our family and friends who hadn’t already responded to our electronic plea or whose email addresses we did not know. ETIX, the ticketing company for which I work, has also been terrific in their support of our family. For the 2013 race, they sponsored many employees to travel to Savannah and run the half-marathon.
In all, we had about thirty runners on our team, all wearing the CURE FA shirts. Those shirts got us noticed. We also handed out Cure FA wrist bands at the race. In our first year, Team Mustangs raised just over $52,000!
For 2014, our team goal was much higher. Despite a late start, we finished strong. Although we didn’t reach our goal, to date, we have raised a considerable sum, over $34,000! Our family, Jill, and ETIX again raised money through garage sales, restaurant nights, art nights, work raffles, bake sales, letter writing, email, and Facebook.
We received donations from not only family and friends, but also from high school and college classmates, current and former colleagues, and friends and neighbors of family and friends. A number of our ETIX clients have also generously donated to our cause.
Alison has really stepped up this year by creating beautiful terrariums/fairy gardens to sell in order to raise money. She has donated the first $1,000 of her profits to FARA! She will be making another big donation before the end of the year of 50% of profits since that first donation! The Hampton Inn that we stayed at in downtown Savannah even allowed Alison to setup a table in the lobby the day of the race to sell her terrariums and collect donations. You can see all of her beautiful work HERE on the Terrarium Designs Facebook page.
One of the more inspiring things to come out of the race this year happened a couple of miles from the finish, where a member of Team Mustangs met Mike Smith (Florida), who himself was diagnosed with FA just a few years ago as an adult. Mike inspired us all by running and finishing the race. Another new piece of Savannah 2014 was the table and tent we were given in the park near the finish line and main entertainment stage. There we setup and hung our FARA, Team Mustangs, and Etix banners. We gave away fan club goodies from my office, with a suggestion for donations and information about our cause. We were able to raise awareness for Friedreich’s Ataxia and collect a jarful of donations!
We will be in launching Team Mustangs 2015 at the end of the year. Jill and I are so excited that we have already signed up for Savannah Rock & Roll 2015. Anyone interested can join us there on November 7th.
In just two years, Team Mustangs for Alison has raised over $86,000! We have high hopes for more in 2015. Like the rest of the FAmily, we are anxious to cure FA!