April may be when winter’s white finally turns to green, but for MDA, March is the greenest month.
You may have been asked by a cashier if you’d like to “buy a Shamrock to help MDA,” or noticed the festive displays of green and gold Shamrocks mobiles posted in stores.
Shamrocks are critical to MDA’s mission. In 2010, they raised $23 million for MDA-funded health care services, summer camp, equipment repair and, of course, research such as you’ll read about in this issue of Quest. The 2011 Shamrocks program promises to be an even bigger success, thanks to the help of our fantastic supporters.
First, of course, are the MDA sponsors who generously help us sell Shamrocks in their businesses, including national retailers 7-Eleven, Applebee’s, Burger King, Jiffy Lube, Lowe’s and Walgreens. We literally couldn’t do it without them.
Singer Maureen McGovern — “the Stradivarius Voice” — has been a driving force in promoting Shamrocks for many years. This year, Maureen was joined in her efforts by popular television host Nancy O’Dell, who also serves as MDA’s National ALS Ambassador. Both women have a personal connection to the fight against muscle disease: Maureen has a niece living with dermatomyositis, and Nancy’s mother was felled by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
You may have noticed that this year’s Shamrocks mobiles incorporate MDA’s new “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference” theme, complete with photos of two youngsters flexing their muscles: MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Abbey Umali, 12, who has a form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; and Zachary Walters, 8, MDA Goodwill Ambassador for Missouri, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
More than ever, MDA families play a role in Shamrocks’ success. By coming to kickoff events and visiting participating stores to offer thanks, individuals and families help build excitement and motivation among local sponsors.
I invite all of you to stop in and thank your local retailers who participated in the Shamrocks program. Let them know their generosity didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. By selling those little lucky Shamrocks, they’re helping make big things happen for people with muscle diseases!
Gerald C. Weinberg
President & CEO