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Some Remarkable Grassroots Efforts—THANK YOU!

January 27, 2010 by Victoria Strong
We are still processing the remarkable events that took place over the last week and we can't stop thinking about the incredible stories we heard, the amazing things people did, and the sheer relentless motivation to get SMA the national attention it deserves. When we stop and think about the 500,000+ other very worthwhile causes that began the first round and the 99 much larger foundations we competed against in the final round, we feel so very proud of the passion behind all of our collective endless pushing. We are filled with enormous gratitude by what we as a group accomplished. People keep thanking us, but we did this TOGETHER! This would not have happened had we not had such incredible support by those both in the SMA community and those who have been touched by a child or a parent walking this difficult SMA road. One thing is certain, we all really were just part of a MIRACLE!

Here are just some of the examples of the wonderful efforts that occurred this week -- we'd love to know more, so leave a comment about what you did, witnessed, or heard about.

Community Support:

  • Schools, churches, synagogues, businesses, companies...rallied behind GSF and SMA!!!
  • One teacher used it as her lecture on grassroots activism
  • Another teacher emailed and phoned every one of his students and even former students now in college
  • One high school student wore a "Vote For GSF" shirt to school, passed out flyers, and also gave a presentation to his class
  • Coldsprings Elementary emailed every parent in the entire school and then reminded them as well
  • At a National Day of Service event on MLK day in NYC, our video played in the lobby as thousands gathered for the day
  • Companies passed out flyers
  • Businesses sent emails to their costumers and manually removed firewalls to Facebook so their employees could vote

Support overseas:

  • Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan took the time to vote for GSF + SMA
  • My cousin who is living in Uganda (with little computer access) voted and got her peers to as well
  • Graduate students in Israel, Brazil, Ireland and Spain supported and rallied votes
  • SMA and muscular dystrophy organizations around the world reached out to their supporters
  • We saw messages with the VoteForSMA.com link in dozens of languages

Voting Booths:

  • My best friend, Theresa, set up a booth at the mall with two computers, strapped her son to her in a baby carrier, and with the help of a friend got hundreds of people to vote right then and there
  • Our blog friend, Mari, got her church involved. She had a flyer put in the Sunday bulletin and then had a booth set up with laptops, volunteers to help sign people up for facebook, and people voted right there -- including her 91-year-old mother

New Facebookers:

  • So many people joined Facebook to vote -- many who were adamantly anti-Facebook and many seniors in their 80s and 90s!!!
  • People connected with old high school friends, college friends, sorority sisters, and even some childhood friends they hadn't spoken to in 20 years

What SMA is Really Like:

One of the things that we witnessed throughout the last week, was the willingness of so many SMA families to pour their heart and soul out to explain the grief and agony of this disease -- the true reality. The notes, emails, and posts we read are painfully beautiful. So many were on Facebook and, unfortunately, I can't link to them, but here are a few of the incredible things families wrote and a few of the videos created:

Videos:

Zahn Family

Reed Family

Zanna's Song

And here are some pictures of the amazing week:

We absolutely loved seeing the many thank yous being sent out across Facebook, Twitter, and email: SMA families thanking their friends and family for voting, our friends thanking their friends, friends of friends sending thanks...and even the celebrities who supported GSF thanking their fans for voting and caring about SMA! And we are so, so filled with gratitude! We can't thank you all enough for believing in us, fighting for this, and stepping up big time! We feel an enormous responsibility to steward this money and we will walk you through every step of the process. We did this together! And it is incredible!!!

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