In February and March every year, a strange phenomena occurs. Green and gold paper Shamrocks start blooming all over participating businesses, including convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and other retailers.
Retailers all over the U.S.A. sell green Shamrocks for $1.00 and gold Shamrocks for $5.00. The program runs from mid-February through March.
Donations to the Shamrocks Against Dystrophy Program fund research, education, summer camps, and the clinical and other services the Muscular Dystrophy Association funds. The MDA is a leader in research, education, and treatment for the over 40 neuromuscular diseases included in its programs.
The 2013 Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign marks the thirty-first year of the MDA Shamrocks fundraising campaign. In 2011, the Shamrock campaign highlighted the MDA's new motto "Make a Muscle, Make a difference" for the first time.
The program began in 1982 in Grand Rapids, MI, and became a national fundraiser in 1983. It is now the largest charity fundraiser associated with Saint Patrick’s day in the U.S.
In 2012, the program’s thirtieth year, Sharmrocks Against Dystrophy raised an estimated $23 million dollars for the MDA’s programs. Along with raising funds for the MDA, this program also helps to raise public awareness regarding the MDA, the organization’s services, and neuromuscular disease.
Maureen McGovern, successful recording artist, has acted as the national chairperson for this program. Ms. McGovern also serves as a member of the MDA’s Board of Directors and recently earned the MDA Director’s Award, the MDA’s top philanthropic achievement award. She became involved with the MDA after her niece was diagnosed with neuromuscular disease.
As a “Shambassador,” my duties included visiting local businesses that participate, thanking participants, and sharing my story about how the MDA has helped me. At one of the stores I visited, I met an employee who had collected more than 1000 donations from his customers during the 2011 Shamrocks campaign.
You can participate in Shamrocks Against Muscular Dystrophy by purchasing a Shamrock at a local business or online (see web address below). Make sure to say “thank you” to the businesses and individuals who support the Muscular Dystrophy Association through participating in this important fundraiser. You might even share your own story of how the Muscular Dystrophy Association has helped you or someone that you love.
Albrecht, D., (2012). Getting Involved: Shamrocks. Quest 19:1. http://quest.mda.org/article/getting-involved-shamrocks . Retrieved 3/1/13.
MDA, (2012). National Green and Gold Shamrocks Program Represents More than Luck for Thousands of Families. MDA website. http://www.mda.org/news/120221shamrock-season.html. Retrieved 3/1/13.
PR Newswire, (2012). Businesses Across U.S. Help MDA Shamrocks campaign Set Record with $23 Million in Sales, Tally Ongoing. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/businesses-across-us-help-mda-shamrocks-campaign-set-record-with-23-million-in-sales-tally-ongoing-150577875.html . Retrieved 3/1/13.
Quest Staff, (2010). MDA Matters Fall 2010. Quest Magazine, 17:4. http://quest.mda.org/article/mda-matters-fall-2010. Retrieved 3/1/13.
Weinberg G.C., (2011). Keeping in Touch Spring 2011. Quest Magazine, 18:2. http://quest.mda.org/article/keeping-touch-spring-2011 . Retrieved 3/1/13.
Shamrock images courtesy of the MDA. Used with permission. You can download a Shamrock at https://secure.mdausa.org/myspace/shamrock/ShamrockImages.aspx ,