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BellaOnline's Neuromuscular Diseases Editor

Shambassador Tales

As area businesses again blossomed with green and gold Shamrock’s during February and March of 2014, I was again asked by my regional Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) office to act as a Shambassador for the MDA. My duties would include visiting area businesses that participate in the MDA Shamrocks Against Dystrophy program to say “thank you” for their support.

Many businesses in my area and across the U.S. participate in MDA Shamrocks each year by asking their customers to support the MDA through buying a Shamrock. Green Shamrocks represent a $1 donation, while gold Shamrocks represent a $5 donation. Business sponsors represented in my area include Kroger, Lowe’s, Walgreens, Applebee’s, and Burger King.

Last year, the MDA Shamrocks program raised about $23 million dollars. The funds raised will support the MDA’s programs, including research, clinics, and summer camps.

As I visited participating businesses in my area, I spoke to managers, customer service representatives, wait staff, and cashiers. I handed out thank you cards from the MDA, along with green beads and mint candies. As I met people, I told them about the MDA and its services. I also had a chance to tell them about how MDA programs have served me and to tell them about my experience with neuromuscular disease in general and Charcot Marie Tooth more specifically.

At a couple of the stores that I visited, there was some concern expressed that numbers have been lower this year. As one cashier said, “The economy has been bad and people are hurting. They don’t have as much to give.”

At another store, however, the manager expressed that this had been their best year ever. The manager indicated that they would reach their goal of raising enough to send 8 children to the MDA summer camp.

Another manager expressed how much she enjoyed working with the MDA. She was surprised by my visit because she had just received a thank you call from the MDA visit. As I told her about the many programs that the MDA supported and how the MDA had helped me, she told me how touched she was by my visit and my story.

As I visited the stores that support the MDA through selling Shamrock’s, I came to appreciate how much it meant to each person I met to be able to associate a name and face with the Shamrock program. If I am asked next year, I will gladly visit supporting stores in my area again to express my gratitude for their support.

Quest Staff, (2014). Going Green: Annual MDA Shamrocks program raises millions for the cause. Quest. Retrieved from http://quest.mda.org/article/access-mda-winter-2014 on 3/14/14.

Roxan Olivas, 2014. Buy a Shamrock Today, Help Fight Back Against Muscle Disease. MDA website. Retrieved from http://mda.org/media/press-releases/buy-shamrock-today-help-fight-back-against-muscle-disease on 3/14/14.

Shamrock images courtesy of the MDA. Used with permission.

You can download a Shamrock at https://secure.mdausa.org/myspace/shamrock/ShamrockImages.aspx .

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