I was recently reminded of a conversation from last years Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Scottish Conference and I went on to reread (and please follow the link...) "August" where I talk about the very similar genetics of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Cystic Fibrosis (CF), the fact that these conditions are both common life-limiting, and the lack of awareness of SMA in comparison to CF.
I hear you ask "but where do the donkeys fit in?". Well, they demonstrate that the general public are good and kind and most definitely philanthropic, but that perhaps the public aren't really aware of the effect that neuromuscular conditions have on peoples life and the help that they can offer to these people? (I must point out here that I have nothing against donkeys!)
There are over 200,000 charities in the UK and their plight, especially in times of recession, is never really far from our minds through media coverage, or perhaps through personal experience and real life.
Do you know that The Donkey Sanctuary raises approximately 20 million pounds in voluntary donations per year? 90% of their donations are spent worldwide on donkey welfare and they employ approximately 500 staff worldwide.
Do you know that the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is funded almost entirely by voluntary donations? They support nearly 70,000 babies, children and adults living in the UK with neuromuscular conditions. The MDC employs approximately 100 employees and has over a 1000 volunteers "fighting the fight". But do you know that annually they receive 7 million pounds in voluntary contributions?
Now donkeys are cute (kind of!) but is our charitable giving misguided? Are we unaware of other charities who need our support? Can our fundraising be more directed towards charities who are more in need? (Not that I'm saying that donkeys aren't a worthwhile cause, you understand.) Perhaps I am too close to this, but having had £150,000 granted (by the MDC!) to research into SMA at Edinburgh University, I am acutely aware of the need to fundraise for this worthwhile cause!
cute or what?
move over donkey - eilidh is on her way!