MDA Matters July-August 2005

by Quest Staff on July 1, 2005 - 1:54pm

QUEST Vol. 12, No. 4

In this article: News about: Aisles of Smiles * MDA carnivals * Fill-the-Boot * * Harley-Davidson Ride for Life * A Night Under the Stars * DECA Conference * Awards to Quest * Ms. disAbility International Award

Keep on smiling

For the 20th year, grocery stores and other retailers are turning their stores into Aisles of Smiles to benefit MDA this summer.

As consumers purchase products or buy mobiles with the Aisles logo, participating manufacturers guarantee a donation to MDA from every marked product that’s sold.

Last year’s in-store Aisles of Smiles campaign and special events, involving more than 150 retail chains and outlets, raised more than $8.4 million for MDA’s programs and services.

It's carnival time

Traditional MDA carnivals are back with a modern twist. A complete instruction guide on holding an MDA carnival is available at

Backyard carnivals provide fun, family activities for children and adults, and they bring neighbors together for a great cause. Carnivals can be held in vacant parking lots, churches, schools or backyards. They may feature homemade carnival games, party games, silent auctions, food, music and other fun, with ticket proceeds donated to MDA.

Some carnivals held before Aug. 15 will be featured on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon on Labor Day weekend.

Watch for boots to fill

For more than 50 years, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has raised funds for MDA through its annual Fill-the-Boot campaign.

The IAFF is MDA’s largest national sponsor, and each year, members of hundreds of IAFF locals invite the public at intersections, malls and sporting events to fill a fire fighter’s boot with donations for MDA. In 2004, the campaign raised nearly $15 million. Since the partnership began in 1954, the IAFF has raised more than $200 million for MDA’s lifesaving research and services.

Keep your eyes open this summer for Fill-the-Boot activities benefiting MDA programs in your area.

Moms can help MDA online

A new online promotion invites mothers to support MDA’s mission with just a few clicks of the computer mouse., a Web site with resources, shopping and information, will donate $1 to a charity of choice for every new member who registers with the site through Mother’s Day 2006.

Every time you shop online during the promotion at, MDA will receive 1 percent of the total purchase price.

The Clubmom "cyber mall" includes gateways to popular stores like the Gap, KB Toys, Target, Nordstrom, Home Depot and many more. To register, simply go to, click on the red "Clubmom Dollar Drive for Charity" banner and select MDA as your charity of choice.

Harley fans ride for life

The 18th annual Harley-Davidson Ride for Life in Pennsylvania on April 30-May 1 raised an impressive $764,818 for MDA.

Harley riders at a Ride for Life event

Motorcycle enthusiasts, Harley-Davidson dealers and area businesses collected contributions. Comprised mostly of members of the Eastern Harley-Davidson Dealers Association, more than 1,500 motorcycle riders from five mid-Atlantic states took part.

Harold Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), led a contingent of fire fighters in the parade.

The event included a special tribute to the late MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Mattie Stepanek, who’d enjoyed participating in the annual ride. It also helped commemorate the 25th anniversary of MDA’s partnership with Harley-Davidson, which began in 1980 with a program called Bikers Fight MD.

Since 1980, Harley-Davidson’s family of dealers, customers, employees, suppliers and H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) chapters have raised more than $50 million for "Jerry’s kids." In 2004, Harley-Davidson contributed $4 million to MDA.

MDA friends sparkle under the stars

On April 16, some 600 guests gathered for the 19th annual A Night Under the Stars spring gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The event raised over $544,685 for MDA’s ALS research, and 57 summer camp sponsorships were purchased. The gala was organized by a committee chaired by MDA Board Member Timmi Masters.

Co-hosted by MDA Board members Jann Carl of "Entertainment Tonight" and Ed McMahon, the black-tie event honored Dennis Bassler, the senior vice president for sales and marketing for Albertson’s Southern California Region, with the 2005 Dennis Day Memorial Award. John Joseph Davis, an internationally acclaimed photographer with ALS, received the 2005 Golden Wings Award.

Gilman steals show at DECA conference

MDA National Youth Chairman Billy Gilman attended DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif., on April 27-28.

At the opening session, Gilman performed a musical tribute to the late Mattie Stepanek and then introduced the world premiere of his music video "Everything and More," the title track from his fifth CD, released on May 3.

The teen singing sensation presented awards to the three DECA chapters that raised the most money for MDA this year. Gilman also posed for photos, signed autographs and sold autographed copies of his latest CD to benefit MDA.

DECA is a longtime national MDA sponsor.

Quest receives two national awards

Quest has earned two awards in a national media competition.

The January-February 2004 issue of MDA’s bimonthly magazine earned an Award of Distinction in the Communicator Awards’ association magazine division. An Award of Excellence for feature writing went to senior writer Christina Medvescek, staff writer Kathy Wechsler, and freelance columnist Abby Albrecht for the "Journey to Independence" package of stories published in November-December.

This is the third year in which this competition, judged by professionals in the communications industry, has honored Quest

Sister act fights for disability awareness

Janeal Lee of Appleton, Wis., has been appointed the recipient of the new Ms. disAbility International Award. Presented by the World Association of Persons with disAbilities (WAPD), the award highlights the abilities of people with disabilities.

In her new role, Lee, a math teacher at Kaukauna High School, will educate the public about disability issues, raise disability awareness and advocate on behalf of people with disabilities.

Janeal Lee and Sharon Spring
Janeal Lee (left) and Sharon Spring

Lee, 30, was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin on Jan. 22, and her sister, Sharon Spring, 27, of Rochester, Minn., was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota on March 12. Both sisters have limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.

In April, however, pageant officials forced Lee to forfeit the Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin title and prizes. The state committee ruled that she didn’t meet the physical requirements because she can stand and walk short distances without the use of her scooter. A few days later, Spring resigned her title in support of her sister.

Lee and Spring will continue to speak across the country, advocating for people with disabilities.

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