Muckin’ for Michael’s Mom (M4MM), Part 2

May 15, 2015 0 By muckfestms

UPDATE: Team photo of Muckin’ for Michael’s Mom (M4MM) from MuckFest MS Denver!


We’re excited to share part two of our feature on Muckin’ for Michael’s Mom (M4MM). Now, we’ll hear from team leadership across the country on fundraising tips, team building ideas, and why supporting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is important to them.

Ramón Rhymes, Denver Mucker

Tell us about your Duck Attack fundraising effort.

I was struggling with asking for direct donations on my behalf to the fundraising account set up for the MuckFest® MS. I have an indirect connection with someone that suffers from the illness, but I felt that my connection was too attenuated to credibly ask others to donate on my behalf. Getting others to donate on behalf of someone that we all know and like was something I felt I could genuinely cajole people into doing. And thus began the idea of the Duck Attack, which Michael introduced yesterday in his post. Our “target,” Yvonne Rankin, was well-known and well-liked at our organization, and getting people to donate to her account was a way for all of us to genuinely show our support of her efforts. The Duck Attack was a terrific opportunity to be creative, promote a fun office gag, and support an incredible cause. Folks from all levels of the organization jumped in to support the effort and everyone commented that they really enjoyed the campaign. If you check out this video, you can see that it also turned out to be a great father-daughter event too.

Duck Attack 2, MuckFest MSDenver Mucker, Yvonne Rankin.

Why is supporting the National MS Society through MuckFest MS important to you?

All of us have different reasons for putting energy into important causes. What makes the MuckFest MS event important for me is the camaraderie it engenders. Seeing what my colleagues have done to make this event happen demonstrated for me that a small group of focused individuals can really make a world of change.

Dan Sequeira, Team Captain of MuckFest MS New Jersey’s Muckin’ for Michael’s Mom (M4MM)

What is your top team building tip?

Get at least one passionate lieutenant to help you out! Thanks to Bernadette Flesch for her special support of our team.

Why is supporting the National MS Society through MuckFest MS important to you?

The prospect of a fun-filled day slopping through mud while contributing to the eradication of this dreaded disease is impossible to resist.

I don’t know if it’s serendipity (a somewhat strange word to use given the cause), but ever since Michael Pierce asked if I would consider getting involved with MuckFest MS, I have become aware of several folks in my community/circle of friends who either have MS or are connected to someone who suffers from it. It’s gratifying to know that my efforts may well make a difference in the life of someone with whom I have a personal connection.

Michelle Sugerman, Denver Volunteer

What is the most creative way you’ve asked people to fundraise?

I sent out 30 emails asking for “at least a Hamilton.” Some thought I was asking for their fancy watch and some thought I misaddressed my email, but I got a lot of traction on my message asking for a small donation of $10. Here is the fundraising message that I used:

“There I was, on the day of the race last year, feeling the warm sun on my skin. I was simultaneously reveling in the fact that I had geared up my workouts for this 5K and dreading the fact that I was gonna get wet and muddy (and cold)! Then, I met Michael’s Mom, Dee…AND IT GOT REAL! Suddenly, I wasn’t there to impress my new friends with my abilities to complete the MuckFest MS obstacles; I was there to help find a cure for Michael’s Mom. Dee is a 1st generation college graduate, taught in Germany on an Army base, and sponsored lively debates at her family’s dinner table, and now, is saddled with the debilitating disease of MS. We were all so moved by her story, we named our team Muckin’ for Michael’s Mom (M4MM). On May 16, 2015, I will be volunteering it at MuckFest MS Denver. It’s going to be a blast! But, supporting the muckers is just part of my contribution! Would you help me raise some Bucks for the Muck? You can help Michael’s once feisty and independent Mom find a cure AND help me win a really cool T-shirt!”

Denver Blog

Why is supporting the National MS Society through MuckFest MS important to you?

I was personally invited by Michael Pierce to join the MuckFest MS event held September 2014 near Denver. I was surprised by the play on words, like “MuckFest MS is Muckin’ Awesome”, and I grew to love the playful spirit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society conveyed through MuckFest MS. The day of the 5K course full of mud and 20+ outrageous obstacles, I realized raising money for MS services and research really is a “dirty business.” MS is a serious illness that affects not only individuals, but also their families. We all knew that our team was “Muckin’ for Michael’s Mom” (M4MM), but when I met Michael’s mom, Dee, I was deeply moved. Her tenacity to fight through the loss of her feisty independence was evidenced in her calm, yet fatigued demeanor. Following the MuckFest MS event, I too was fatigued, but I was also energized knowing I had done my part to raise money, spread awareness, and become part of the community that continues to “Muck for Michael’s Mom!”

Jon Downie, Denver Mucker

As a Workplace Champion, what is your top team building tip?

Emphasize the win-win scenario – helping those with MS, while having fun in the process. My company, Welltok, is a small organization, so I had to get creative. I posted flyers in view from every spot in the Denver office. I also have spoken with many people since we announced the team. If I happened to catch someone looking at a flyer, I’d talk with him or her about the event and the win-win scenario – having fun while raising money for a good cause. We also had a lunch and learn at my office, and Welltok was very generous in funding the lunch. The National MS Society was collaborative and helpful in making the session informative. Leading up to the lunch and learn, as well as afterwards, HR was kind enough to send a company-wide email announcing the event.

In my and HR’s communications, there was mention of Yvonne, Ramon and I participating last year, which provided opportunity for each of us to speak from experience about how fun and rewarding it was. The Welltok office has low profile cubicle desks with very few hard wall offices. The M4MM Mucker, Helper (volunteer) and Backer (donations) name tents were a great way to advertise to others if you were participating. It also provided a good word of mouth mechanism. Once a few people signed up, they were talking about it to others, which triggered more people to sign up.


Why is supporting the National MS Society through MuckFest MS important to you?

Sometimes in life, certain opportunities are presented that pique your interest. Last year, when asked to participate in the MuckFest MS event in Denver, it sounded like a win-win scenario. The funds raised help those with MS, and the MuckFest MS would be a fun 5K. The win-win scenario continues this year with MuckFest MS 2015.

Marcelle Wall, Denver Mucker

What is your top fundraising tip?

Ask for corporate sponsorships! Every company has a philanthropy budget, and they like giving to great causes! And like I always say, “You don’t get if you don’t ask.”

Why is supporting the National MS Society through MuckFest MS important to you?

I have a dear friend, Leslie Clark, who was diagnosed with MS several years ago. She has demonstrated the most amazing courage and grace through what has been a very difficult and frustrating process of first even getting to the diagnosis, and then championing her own health by doing research on all kinds of treatments, including alternative ones. She is my motivation, along with Michael’s mom of course!

Sandi Busby, Denver Mucker

How do you spread the word about MuckFest MS?

We talk about MuckFest MS everywhere we go and dare our friends and business associates to get involved. It’s amazing what a little chatter can do to pique people’s interests.

Why is supporting the National MS Society through MuckFest MS important to you?

Living in Colorado, we have a disproportionate number of MS diagnoses. We need to support our fellow Coloradoans, and this is a fun way to do it!

Michael Heintz, MuckFest MS Houston Team Captain

Why is supporting the National MS Society through MuckFest MS important to you?  

I have been an avid supporter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for years, mostly through the Bike MS program. I started cycling again following knee surgery and thought I should put all my rehab effort into a good cause. My company (BP) is the primary sponsor of the BP MS150 from Houston-to-Austin each year, so I started there. At the time, I didn’t know much about MS but quickly learned through the educational materials provided by the local chapter office. During fundraising for my first ride, I learned of many friends and family that were directly impacted by MS. The more research I did, the more I knew I had to help to put an end to this disease. Through my university, I was connected with another alum who lived nearby who was battling MS. He shared with me all the support he was receiving from the National MS Society as well as provided more details of their work. This motivated me even more to participate in other Bike MS events in San Antonio, Houston and Louisiana. Sadly, he lost his battle with MS in 2013 but remains a motivation for me.  When I learned of MuckFest MS from one of my longtime friends and supporters, I knew I had to form our Houston team.

What is the most effective way to ask people to join your team in Houston where it’s the first year for MuckFest MS?

I express to potential team members that it will be a “Muckin’ Awesome” time for a great cause.  I then share details about the work the National MS Society does and the importance of the funds raised. We are a small team so far, as focus has been on the BP MS150 cycling event. However, I am expecting a fairly large team before our November event. 

Thanks for your support, M4MM!