Today we are excited to hear from team captain, Veronique Melita Daniza Nÿdam, of the Mucky Monsters as she shares her story of why she recently got involved in the first ever MuckFest MS Houston and tips on how you can too!
In the summer of 2013, I started dating my boyfriend. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after we started dating and was very reluctant to share anything with me, be it emotions, the progression of his disease, what sort of damage had already been done to his nervous system or what this diagnosis meant for his future. I did not have a lot of knowledge about the disease and was not very familiar with it. Following his diagnosis I started doing research and educating myself.
Through my research, I learned that there are more ways than one to contribute to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I had decided to participate in the BPMS 150 with my mama after we did some training, and I was very happy with my decision. It was not until I was watching an episode of The Bachelor on ABC that I became aware of MuckFest® MS. After seeing the episode, I decided that MuckFest MS Houston was going to happen – whether my boyfriend liked it or not!
To me, MuckFest MS is an opportunity to get involved in a community that deals with a very serious issue in a positive and energetic way. Through MuckFest MS, the National MS Society receives funding for research and programs. For example, my boyfriend goes to yoga at the Society headquarters in Houston every Thursday. Without events like MuckFest MS, the National MS Society might not be able to host these kinds of programs. MuckFest MS and the National MS Society demonstrate hope for a cure and provide support and guidance for people facing this diagnosis for themselves or a loved one.
What is my advice to a first-time fundraiser? Email your mama. No joke. Even if you don’t have a lot of personal contacts or correspondence with a lot of people, your mom might! I sent my mom an email to raise funds and asked her to pass it along. In less than a week, I raised $735 from 11 different donors. From there, I started to post on my Facebook page and spread awareness through social media. I also used an online barcode generator to create a quick and easy way for people to access my donation page from their smart phones. I took the barcode and made business cards that I passed out to my friends and coworkers.
The most important thing in fundraising is persistence. Do not give up and keep reminding people that you are fundraising. Do not just ask for a donation, explain why, where their money is going, how it is going to help, and tell them what the cause means to you. It makes it more personal, and the people that you know and love will be more inclined to make that donation.
At the first-ever MuckFest MS Houston, I can’t wait to observe the shenanigans! I decided that our team name would be Mucky Monsters. My boyfriend has a strange obsession with zombies, therefore we will be the un-dead Mucksters. I cannot wait to see the obstacles, meet fellow Muckers, and feel the excitement of a group of people who have come together for a common cause and are genuinely excited and happy to be there!
Also, did I mention that my teammates are everything? I may be the team captain, but there is no possibility for a team without my teammates. My boyfriend will be participating with us, and he will be rocking his “I Muck It With MS” Bandana! He is my motivation, and without him, I would not have learned what I have, and I would not be such a driving force with my fundraising and team recruitment.
Also, my mama is of course getting mucky with us! Without her help, I would not have been able to raise half of the funds that I have to date. She is always willing to support me and my endeavors, and although she is not particularly thrilled about being wet and muddy in the cold, she is going to be there, un-dead and all (she’s not particularly thrilled about that aspect either)! My little sister will be joining as well. She is incredibly driven! My boyfriend’s family will also be participating with us. They are so supportive, and although it was my hair-brained idea to sign up for a mud run in November, they have only had positive things to say!
Muckers, thanks so much for reading my story. Live the Muck Life, and do not worry, be Mucky! No matter what obstacles or unexpected twists end up in your life path, there are always people and organizations that will open their arms to support you and help you through. Never Muck Up!
Learn more about the Mucky Monsters!