At the beginning of the year, FARA published a summary of grassroots fundraising throughout 2017; event names, funds raised, and location of the event held. I noticed that Vermont was not on this map. As an Ambassador, I knew that I was pretty active in creating and raising awareness, attending fundraising events, and being active in the FA community, but seeing this map really brought to my attention that I was not providing/creating a way to allow my local community the opportunity to be a part of the journey to a cure. I decided right then, that this year I was going to put Vermont on the map for FARA's grassroots fundraising!
This year I am the President of my small towns Farmer's Market. I have young children, and eating healthy and also supporting local farmers is important to me. It is also important to me to be a voice for others, creating awareness, and being active in my community. I decided that a great venue for my grassroots fundraising would be at our Summer Farmer's Market. Our Summer Farmer's Market is held most Tuesdays, from May 15-October 9th. I've missed a few because of medical appointments, FA events, and family time.
Beads for Hope Fundraiser is a table/vendor at the Farmers Market that features bracelets, necklaces, bookmarks, and keychains that are hand-made beaded creations. I chose to make beaded creations because I used to love to make things using beads before I had kids, but hadn't really had the time since, and I thought that it might be great hand therapy. Now that my kids are in school full-time, I can put more attention into exploring hobbies and taking care of me. Items sales are by donation only, and 100% of proceeds are donated to FARA. So far this summer, Beads for Hope has raised over $500!
Over the summer weeks of doing this fundraiser, I have really had a great time. I have met some great people, had wonderful conversations with friends, and did a lot of sharing about Friedreich's Ataxia. I grew up in this town and know a lot of community members, but I really wasn't comfortable talking or sharing about my diagnosis until about 5 years ago. This fundraiser opened a lot of doors for me; to talk, share, educate, and be really expressive with my feelings. I think that sometimes friends and community members are often wondering things and feel embarrassed or shy to ask. This fundraiser gave a platform to have these conversations and increase awareness. Out of the new people that I had the pleasure of meeting, I met people that have family members with other types of ataxias, researchers, doctors, and other people with rare conditions. I feel like the more comfortable that I get with myself, the more connections that are made.
I feel very grateful for my town for being the host of Beads
Beads for Hope Fundraiser is a table/vendor at the Farmers Market.