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Julie  Stachowiak, Ph.D.

Give Back for MS with “The Circle of Ten”

By January 25, 2010

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I recently met a guy named Adam, whose father had passed away from complications related to primary progressive multiple sclerosis ten years ago. Adam's family wanted to commemorate his father in a special way and decided to raise some money for an MS organization. In these times of heightened economic hardship, epidemics and natural disasters, that might seem a difficult task.

Adam's mom came up with an idea that she calls "The Circle of Ten." It is very simple: one person recruits ten people that they know (she wrote a touching letter to do this) to ask ten people from their circle of family and friends to give 10 dollars each. Viola! Pretty soon, you have a thousand dollars.

I love it for a lot of reasons. Unlike many other fundraising situations, this one can actually be graceful and fun - usually people like to give, but neither the asker or the person being asked enjoys that yucky moment where they are both doing mental calculations as to how much looks good, but doesn't cause financial or emotional stress. With this strategy, mentioning a small amount allows everyone to feel great about the whole thing (and people often give more).

There are other indirect benefits of this approach, as well. Of course, I always like to see money going to MS research and programs. However, when people give even a small amount to a cause, they become a little more interested in that cause - they have, in effect, bought a little piece of the situation and start to watch our progress in MS, and share a little of our disappointment, as well. These little networks keep our issues in the hearts and minds of more people. That can only be good.

I also like this idea for other, maybe selfish, reasons. I blogged about the idea of giving as therapy in this entry: A "Treatment" for MS Symptoms with No Side Effects, about the "29-Day Giving Challenge." I'll tell you, I think it is working. I haven't been as regimented as I would like, but on the days I do something helpful or just nice for someone, I feel better.

So, give it a try. Be the "central node" in your own Circle of Ten and see what happens.

Not sure which organization to give the money to? Here are some ideas:

Or give to any of your other favorite organizations. One favor? If you do this (or have other innovative fundraising ideas) come back to the comments section and let us know...

January 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm
(1) Courtney says:

I was diagnosed with MS in July of 2006 and recently launched “The Ride Project” (http://www.therideproject.com) with a commitment to donate $1,000,000 to the Myelin Repair Foundation through the sales of limited edition photography. I also offer a blog, resource page and team page for other ways to help until there is a CURE for MS.

I love the “circle of ten” idea!

January 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm
(2) Nicole McGarvey says:

I support “The Circle of Ten”! My brother was diagnosed with MS back in 2000 and have many friends that have been affected by MS. As Mylein Repair Foundation’s Volunteer Area Director for Colorado-I have found any action big or small has an effect! Believe in the power of asking and giving-it heals!

January 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm
(3) Pam says:

Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea. And also thanks for sharing your positive experience with “giving”. I am so happy that this has been beneficial for you. Keep up the good work. Pam

January 31, 2010 at 11:07 am
(4) Jen says:

Thanks for presenting this great fundraising idea, Julie. I’ve passed along this information at my site http://www.msstrength.com. Would be great for readers to employ.


January 31, 2010 at 5:07 pm
(5) mxspdracer says:

This is a fantastic idea. I have made a lot of friends through MS Walks and this is a great idea for us to use! You could spread this news further through vlogs in this program they do at I Walk Because. You can inspire someone and share your story! http://bit.ly/7C5gD2

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s own courage.” ~Anais Nin

February 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm
(6) Shirley says:

I am disappointed that you made no mention of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (www.msfocus.org),a group that does more for the individual MS patient than any other. The MSF is sponsoring their annual MS Awareness Month in March.

March 23, 2010 at 9:09 am
(7) Jeff Crepeau says:

Julie -

I started a coffee fundraising program called ONE CUP CLOSER TO A CURE through my company, Fundraising Together (www.fundraisingtogether.com) in 2009 after personally losing a Mother and Sister In Law to an incurable illness.

One of our first non-profits who we contacted for our our coffee fundraising program was The National MS Society, Minnesota Chapter and together we have created the MS Empowerment Blend Coffee program.

All our coffees can be ordered year round. The coffee is fresh-roasted to order and shipped within 10 business days. The coffee costs $144 per case (24 custom labeled 12 oz. bags per case) and we include free shipping within the continental U.S. Fundraising participants either sell the coffee for $10 or $12 per bag, based on their fundraising goals, or give a bag of coffee as a Thank You for a monetary donation. It’s a great way for people to support you while getting a product that they can use daily. And you can continue to supply them with coffee as they would like to reorder throughout the year, thus keeping your fundraising efforts going year round.

I would appreciate you posting this information on your blog as appropriate. We would like to get the word out that these products are available to help anyone throughout the country looking to raise funds for MS.

Together, we can get ONE CUP CLOSER TO A CURE.


June 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm
(8) Pat H says:

For those fundraising for MS in general, may I strongly suggest against the MS Society. In Canada the society absorbs 48% of every dollar donated (the USA can’t be far off).

There are more responsible charitable organizations out there that truly want to help MS patients.


June 27, 2010 at 8:58 pm
(9) Eileen Gavin McKenna says:

Great idea! I’d definitely add to your list DIRECT-MS (www.direct-ms.org), a super MS non-profit foundation that gets the money out to where it’s needed. Right now, it’s needed for treatment studies of CCSVI, a vascular condition that’s recently been linked to MS, and one that I believe will be proven to be THE underlying cause of most, if not all, cases of multiple sclerosis. Inform yourselves, please!

July 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm
(10) Eileen Gavin McKenna says:

I’ve decided to give to the recently formed non-profit organization CCSVI Alliance.

November 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm
(11) jessicaforester says:

The CCSVI Liberation Treatment could be the cure but fact remains that the rate of re-occlusion is stuck at 50% and MS patients being treated in the European and Asian countries end up suffering as they did, 3 months ago. While Big Pharmaceutical Corporations and governments in the US and Canada are coming up with new ideas to stop any advancements to the CCSVI theory (Like the superbugs, etc.), millions continue to travel to countries like India and Poland to get this simple procedure and no valuable data is recorded to support the CCSVI theory. Unless we get our position strong enough to support the CCSVI Theory, we will never be able to beat the Pharma Corporations or start the treatment here and many will keep suffering and dying even after having the procedure done. I lost my elder brother last month because of a blood clot in his stent. He got liberated 5 months ago in Poland. We need to prove to the government that this works. Non-profit organizations like the CCSVI Clinic http://www.ccsviclinic.ca/ are tirelessly working to develop safer protocols with teams of world renowned surgeons even though they are feeling the negative pressure from you know who. They have started Clinical Trials for CCSVI and we need to support these groups because they are our only hope to fight for the truth. Without the valuable data that they are collecting offshore, the procedures will not be allowed here, in our own countries.

March 12, 2012 at 5:22 am
(12) Leo Voisey says:

Stem cells are “non-specialized” cells that have the potential to form into other types of specific cells, such as blood, muscles or nerves. They are unlike “differentiated” cells which have already become whatever organ or structure they are in the body. Stem cells are present throughout our body, but more abundant in a fetus.
Medical researchers and scientists believe that stem cell therapy will, in the near future, advance medicine dramatically and change the course of disease treatment. This is because stem cells have the ability to grow into any kind of cell and, if transplanted into the body, will relocate to the damaged tissue, replacing it. For example, neural cells in the spinal cord, brain, optic nerves, or other parts of the central nervous system that have been injured can be replaced by injected stem cells. Various stem cell therapies are already practiced, a popular one being bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukemia. In theory and in fact, lifeless cells anywhere in the body, no matter what the cause of the disease or injury, can be replaced with vigorous new cells because of the remarkable plasticity of stem cells. Biomed companies predict that with all of the research activity in stem cell therapy currently being directed toward the technology, a wider range of disease types including cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury, and even multiple sclerosis will be effectively treated in the future. Recently announced trials are now underway to study both safety and efficacy of autologous stem cell transplantation in MS patients because of promising early results from previous trials.http://www.neurosurgeonindia.org/

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