The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) will be holding it’s annual Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes event on Sunday, June 9 at the Centre de La Nature in Laval, Quebec. This annual fundraising event brings together a community of friends, families, colleagues and sponsors whose main objective is to cure diabetes.
What follows is the full version of the brief that appeared in The Suburban’s print editions.
Here is my 2019 campaign slogan: “Domi a Favour! Max Your Donation to JDRF!” For over 30 years I have participated in an annual fundraising campaign for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Each year I send out letters to my sponsors informing them of my participation in the Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes event. I ask my sponsors to donate to this event and in doing so we help JDRF raise funds for diabetes research. This year I will be sending out approximately 175 to 200 personalized letters.
These are no ordinary “Please donate to my cause” letters. These letters are an invitation to my 2019 campaign. I must admit, I go to crazy measures to entertain my sponsors. Each year I try to think of a fun theme that will capture their interests and in turn, I hope they will donate to my fundraising. The creative efforts I put into my campaign letters takes months of planning.
As soon as the 2018 Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes event ended, I got started on the 2019 campaign. My first thought was, “What will be my theme?” This takes a long time for me to settle on. A couple of years ago my son Duke suggested I do a hockey theme. I was also thinking about an Easter theme; maybe that will be for 2020.
This year I decided “Teammates to Cure” was going to be my theme. Then I had to come up with a slogan. Many ideas and phrases came to mind. I decided to focus on this year’s Walk Event Spokesperson, Max Domi, player #13 on the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Team.
Displaying Max and Sue as teammates was literally my goal! In January of this year, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Max Domi. From that meeting, and with the help of my amazing graphic artist buddy, Michael Domingo, we were able to create a fabulous campaign letter. All the stickers and inserts were carefully created with the help of Jessica and Cindy at the Montreal JDRF office. Thanks gals!
Next, a special gift only my sponsors will receive in the mail! This I can’t divulge yet. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others have been instrumental in promoting my JDRF fundraising. More information about my online fundraising can be found at the end of this article.
In March, I will be attending a Kick Off event for the Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes. At this event I will be displaying all my sponsor letters from 1987 to 2019. It’s amazing how my letters have progressed from being simple typed letters to magazine quality graphic displays.
When I first participated in a JDRF fundraising event, it was a Bike-A-Thon in my neighbourhood. We rode our bikes for 50k and collected money per kilometer. Then the event was called the JDRF Cyclothon. This was also a 50k bike ride. The biking events were changed to walk events as there is far less risk in walking than riding a bike. More families with young children are able to participate in the Walk event.
In 1998, on a very rainy cold Sunday May morning, I remember bringing my 2 children to the JDRF Cyclothon event. We loaded our 4 bikes onto a bike rack which was affixed to our van. It was pouring rain. As we were driving down a slope, the bikes became loose and started to fall off the rack. We stopped the van, stood in the pouring rain, adjusted the bikes and continued to the event. We arrived so late! My husband and I were soaking wet and the kids didn’t want to ride in the rain.
I had sponsors relying on my efforts to complete the 50k route. So, I rode in the damp rain. When I finally finished, I said to my family, “There’s got to be a better way!” The next year the Cyclothon became a Walk event. It’s a lot easier to walk in the rain than ride a bike.
Although the Walk event is presently held in June, for year it was held in May. We have walked in every kind of weather, rain, sleet, drizzle, sun, snow, wind, heat, freezing rain, and dry dust. You name it, we have walked in it!
Once my 2019 campaign is launched in March the super fun begins! I have many amazing, wonderful, devoted sponsors who have participated in my fundraising for as long as I have been doing it. As soon as they receive my letter, I receive a donation from them! I love these people!!!
If a sponsor makes a donation on the JDRF website using my fundraising page, I get an immediate notification. As soon as the donation is confirmed, I get an email which says, “You received a donation!” This feels like I’ve received a gift. Although, none of this money is for me, it still feels like someone has sent me a gift. This is truly so exciting and fulfilling. For approximately 4 months I will hopefully receive these wonderful email notifications. Talk about positive and wonderful incentives!!!
My JDRF fundraising campaign is a win-win situation. I put in the work to create the sponsor letters, send them out and promote the campaign using social media. Then I get gifted for four months and JDRF benefits from receiving funds to help finance research to find a cure for diabetes. Everyone wins in this situation. Giving feels so good and it’s so good to give.
Now, if we can ultimately find a cure for diabetes, we at JDRF will be complete. My promise to my friends with diabetes is, “As long as you have this disease, I will continue to help raise funds to cure it.” This year we forge ahead and keep our focus on the GOAL to cure diabetes.
Remember…Domi a Favour! Max Your Donation to JDRF!
This year’s event will take place on Sunday, June 9 at the Centre de La Nature in Laval, Quebec. For more information about the event, please go to www.jdrf.ca/walk
If you would like to make a donation to the JDRF Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes event, please go to my personal fundraising page at https://jdrf.akaraisin.com/ui/jdrfwalk19/participant/4735621
Every single dollar makes a difference in continuing our research to help find a cure for diabetes.
TEAMMATES TO CURE!
—Suzanne Reisler Litwin