As many of you know, we raise money through our nonprofit Parkinson’s Cure Research Funding, Inc. (PCRF) to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. The vast majority of those monies are sent to the Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF), because it is our belief that their business model and efficiency flow of funds is the best place for our money to affect the cure.
I have been honored by the MJFF to be named a fundraising mentor. My last assignment was to mentor an individual putting on their first charity golf tournament, “TeamFox Swing for the Cure”. The TeamFox member and her family were newcomers and really pretty much unknowns to the members of the community. This post is not about the effort that Toni Palumbo put forth, which was enormous, but rather the culmination of her and her husband Gary’s efforts.
I joined them at the Plantation Golf & Country Club in Fort Myers Florida last Thursday for the event. The weather was perfect. It was a great turnout and the event went without a hitch (that won’t be what Toni would say). I had told Toni: “Just tell me what you need me to do.” Well she didn’t really need me there (as I already knew), so I just wandered around in my TeamFox outfit meeting the participants. I ended up by the registration table greeting the golfers as they came in.
The next thing I knew Toni came over and said, “ I need your help.” Sure, give me something to do. She went on say one of the teams was a golfer short and I would have to play. How horrible and unexpected. I just happened to have my clubs in the car. Boy, life is good.
I was going to play golf at a new club and play it with the Florida EverBlades Hockey franchise team. I’m in my element, because my golf swing looks like I’m on ice skates. There were no “sand baggers” in our group so we didn’t win as a team. But I sure did.
As you know from my previous posts that I am doing well for having PD for 7 years and I get great pleasure when I can surprise someone with that fact. We were 6 holes in and we came up to a tee where Toni had arranged a fundraising event. They were asking for donations to cure PD. Well I stepped up to donate and turned to my group to ask them for money to cure Toni and me. For the rest of the round we discussed all aspects of PD. But enough about me.
At the luncheon after the golf event, Toni had all the fundraising opportunities and the crowd participated as you would expect. There were the usual presentations, and the moment that Toni was dreading, the speech. She had told me early on that she didn’t like public speaking (even without talking about PD). I had told her that this was why they were there.
Long story, short- home run.
They were seeing, listening, and living her journey, including the passion for the cure. Within minutes it went from money to awareness. It wasn’t about how much money she was raising; it was putting a face on Parkinson’s. A face they would see in the community, not on television. That brief moment multiplied the awareness factor geometrically.
Over 70% of the room responded positively to the question , “Whose life has been impacted by PD?” NOW THEY HAD A DAILY REMINDER. THE BEAST COULD NOT HIDE IN THE CLOSET.
Now we have another warrior, another champion, another sister in the fight.
Thank you Toni Palumbo, You have enriched my life as you will enrich the lives of those around you.
TWO SHOES ON AGAIN