In sending out this “call for donations,” I was trying to come up with an emotional story of someone whose life has been impacted or changed because of Challenged America – after all this is what is typically done by other charitable organizations in their fundraising appeal.
Should I talk about …?
* Cricket, a 5 year old girl who was born blind and the exhilarating excitement she – and her family – had in sailing for the first time.
* Maybe Adam, a wounded warrior who came to sail at Challenged America (from Walter Reed Army Medical Center) only weeks after both his legs were blown off, and we wrapped and duct-taped plastic bags around both of his stumps, so that his (still) open wounds would be protected from the salt water spray.
* Then there is Dave, a long-time business owner who supported Challenged America for years; only to one day have a severe stroke leaving him paralyzed, and him coming to Challenged America to be a participant, helping him with his rehabilitation.
* Can’t forget Vern, a long-time sailor who, in his last days of life, and under hospice care, called to fulfill one last wish: To go sailing one more time. And he did, quietly, at Challenged America, just a couple weeks before passing on.
* Or the remarkable story about Todd, a young man with Duchene Muscular dystrophy and a ventilator user, able to move only one finger on one hand an inch or so. He too went sailing at Challenged America, when no one else could accommodate his need to sail a boat independently. Staff and volunteers created an optic fiber steering and sail trim mechanism, allowing him the freedom to sail a Martin 16 sailboat himself; and, built a custom seat and headrest for Todd to sit comfortably and safely, and protect his ventilator while sailing.
So many stories to choose from, each having a different thread of emotion; all seeming unimaginable, unless you were there to witness it first-hand.
But such stories at Challenged America happen almost daily, and sometimes you just need to be at the dock to listen to those who have gone sailing, whether for the first time, a repeat participant, or hearing the stories by the many volunteers who, I often feel, get as much from the Challenged America program as those we are dedicated to serve.
We need your help, especially during this economic time. With more organizations and government agencies cutting back on services to the disabled, grants and other sources of funding more difficult to attract, Challenged America continues to grow in the need for our services. And you, the general public, are the major source of funding, and where more than 97% of all donations go to directly support the program.
It is said the most charitable contributions happen at the 11th Hour at this time of year. With this, I am asking you to consider including Challenged America in your charitable contributions. A tax-deductible gift of $25 or $50 or $100, along with a like amount from others (including those you know), adds up to help us continue serving the disabled. The larger your gift and the more people you know who can also include the Challenged America program in their gift-giving will allow us to continue serving even more kids, adults and veterans with disabilities.
And, if you have a quality vessel or vehicle you are unable to sell (at the price you want), donating your vessel to Challenged America could possibly prove to be financially more advantageous than an outright sale. Need to make sure your donations to Challenged America are on or before Dec. 31 to take advantage of the tax-write-off opportunities in 2010.
Thank you for considering Challenged America and telling your family and friends about the work we do and our need for help. The coming year’s Challenged America program is dependent upon your assistance and generosity, today.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Urban Miyares, co-founder and (volunteer) president, DBA & Challenged America program.
P.S. And as I have discovered in my own life, “live long enough and you too will be one of us” … and with your support, you can guarantee that we will be here for you, or someone you love, when you need us.