CHAMPs > CHAMP in Action

Debina's Dream's Volley for a Cure

February 24, 2013 – The Hartford School in Mt. Laurel, NJ, where I work as school secretary, is not just any school. The staff members here are special. So when I announced last year I had Parkinson's disease, and was planning to participate in the Unity Walk, the wheels started turning. What started out as a few people suggesting a Volleyball Game Fundraiser between our 5th and 6th grade staff quickly grew to something much bigger! When word got out, a committee was formed, and the entire staff (over 100 employees) volunteered to donate food, play volleyball and work the event. The game was a success, and raised $3400 for my walk team. It was wonderful! More wonderful still was their decision to do it again for me this year. The fundraiser was even bigger and better, raising $4300! The excitement was palpable throughout the building!

We started with charging $4 admission per person. I worried all week that families would not want to pay that much to come but I was so wrong. I watched in awe as the line grew, eventually stretching out the front doors! Next, several staff members received donated items that we distributed as prizes. They were lined up on a table in the foyer earlier that day to promote the event. Once the students saw those, they really wanted to come! All food was donated by staff, so we made a 100% profit on the food.  We also had carnival like games set up in the cafeteria for the children to play for a small fee to win a little prize (also donated by staff). These games continued during lunch periods for a week. In addition, many of our generous parents paid more than the entrance fee to increase their donation to my team.  

I emailed Helaine Issacs, Event Director at the Unity Walk the day after the volleyball event and she got back to me right away. She wrote back - "I know this is a fight you wouldn't have chosen, but it must be very satisfying to be receiving such an outpouring of support." My response is it sure is! A friend of mine who worked hard on this event wrote, "You are my hero, my friend, the angel sent to help guide others to a more spiritual understanding of the true meaning of why we are all here." What a beautiful thought for me to hold onto on days that are more difficult to get through.

Having a fundraiser is so much more than raising money. It's also more than raising awareness. It is the most powerful way for anyone with Parkinson's to feel all the love and support that is likely there for you. All you have to do is ask.

Debbie Flamini
Team Captain, Debina’s Movers & Shakers