Hosting a Fundraiser for WED/RLS tips

Hosting a Fundraiser for WED/RLS Tips by Donna Payne My Background; My son has Willis Ekbom disease in it's most severe form, 24...

Hosting a Fundraiser for WED/RLS Tips by Donna Payne

My Background; My son has Willis Ekbom disease in it's most severe form, 24/7 throughout his body. He was not diagnosed until he was in his mid-thirties. During those years, until then, he was tormented at school, was abused by the medical profession, and misunderstood by family, friends, teachers, employers and more. As his Mom, I wanted to make it up to him as best I could. Top of my list was AWARENESS, I needed to spread the word so more sufferers would be diagnosed earlier, keeping in mind that some of those sufferers might be my grandchildren and maybe yours.

Maybe some of you will feel the same passion to make a difference that I did so I've put together some steps that helped me to have successful Garden Parties.

First you must be passionate, determined and confident that you can make a difference.

WHY: To support the mission set out by the Willis-Ekbom Foundation; To increase awareness, improve treatments and to encourage research to find a cure.

WHAT: A Garden Party

WHERE: In your yard.

WHO: All your women friends, their friends and neighbors. Anyone you meet that you think might enjoy the event. Keep in mind the numbers you can accommodate. Invite more so you get the numbers you want. We invite 100 and get about 60.

WHEN: Choose a Sunday in the summer. I have it from 2pm – 4 pm.


Donna's Garden Party

Why: WED/RLS is affecting a great number of our population. It is only now being recognized as a serious disease. There are still many, many people who may have it and not know it, many physicians have no knowledge of it, people make fun of it. Your children and grandchildren may inherit it. People entering their senior years will suffer more when they become less mobile. Without funds for research we cannot expect to relieve any of the suffering caused by this debilitating disease.

What: Entertainment; Having a Garden Party is one way of raising funds while offering a fun experience to all who attend. Here are some of the ways we have made ours successful. Find a person who is willing to set up music and a mike for you. We had a local musician bring her portable piano and she sang and played for us. The first year she sang English tunes, the next year was of a Hawaiian theme, we gave each person a lei purchased at the dollar store and our musician sang Hawaiian songs and then taught us the Hula. The following year we had an English High Tea theme and a spontaneous rendition of Octopus's Garden acted out with props and volunteers. Any musician of your acquaintance works. Failing that you can simply have background music of your choice. Ask people to volunteer. You will be surprised how many are willing.

Food; We've served dainty sandwiches and squares. For the high tea we used china tea cups and lunch plates. Sometimes we use colorful plastic plates. This year our theme is butterflies and we will use the plastic plates and glasses for lemonade and mugs for tea and coffee. Our savoury will be veggies in a mini flower pot, cold kebobs and butterfly shaped crackers.

Where: We have a large yard and can accommodate about 60 guests. If I had less room I would invite the number I could accommodate. The event could be held indoors or out. We have always had nice weather but planned to have it indoors if it rained. That would be very tight but not impossible. Consider your community hall, your church basement, a street party, etc.

Who: We have only invited women. In our rural community women enjoy a chance to get together and they love the garden party atmosphere.

We encourage them to bring a friend or two and suggest a date when we cannot accept any more.

On the Serious Side; I read all I can about WED/RLS and each year I have spoken passionately about it. You probably have a personal story to tell, how it affects the person with the disease as well as their family and friends. This is the part that I feel inspires people to donate so do your best, touch their hearts. Talk about how children suffer. Talk about the people with the disease that cannot do the things they love, concerts, travel, movies, etc. Remind people none of these folks ever thought there lives would turn out this way. Tell them the charity is underfunded. Tell them to be aware of WED/RLS and to spread the word.

Just do it, you will be so glad you did! Donna

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