Monday, May 16, 2011

2-Day Garage Sale Benefit for Down Syndrome Research

We had a successful 2-day garage sale benefit on May 14 & 15, Saturday & Sunday. We are truly humbled and thankful for the outpouring of support from everyone who offered helpful suggestions and ideas, took time out of their day to help, donated, and made the event possible and successful. This is part of our efforts to raise funds for the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation's (DSRTF) +15 campaign.

The DSRTF is a national non-profit organization that funds important biomedical research projects around the country. These research projects are focused on developing treatments that would improve cognition and prevent the early onset of Alzheimer's for thousands of individuals with Down syndrome. I love how they don't prioritize prenatal diagnostic-type of research unlike the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who directs majority of federal funding (what little is allocated for Down syndrome) toward prenatal testing for Down syndrome.

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) cites that "25% or more of individuals with Down syndrome over age 35 show clinical signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's-type dementia. In the general population, Alzheimer's disease does not usually develop before age 50."

I don't know what the future holds for Matthew. I know that I will be 65 years old when he turns 35. I know I would be very sad if he develops Alzheimer's early and lessens his ability to live independently, especially since it may take more work and time for him to achieve independence. If that was the case, he would've worked so hard at something only to enjoy it for a fleeting moment. I know that's probably excaggerating and worrying myself for no reason but as his mother, it's my job to worry, isn't it? If he happens to be 1 in the 25% estimated individuals who develops Alzheimer's early, it would be nice to have some research to know if it is preventable and if so, how to prevent it.

The sun never appeared and it drizzled and misted all day, both days. But despite the rain and cold (high 50's to 60's), we had a relatively great turnout and raised a total of $686.45 selling kids' clothes, food, books, and toys. YAY!! This catapulted us to achieving 25% of our $5,000 goal.

The two weeks leading up to the garage sale weekend were hectic for everyone involved.

I took care of flyers, garage sale signs, donations for the raffle, the garage sale ad in the newspaper and craigslist, tagged some items, and put up garage sale signs at both entrances to our subdivision. I would've put up more if there was enough time and if I didn't have the kids with me. I made sure the newspaper ad had a line "Benefit for Down syndrome."

My wonderful sister-in-law took care of presorting all 30+ big bags of clothes and pricing the items individually. She helped me get the word out on facebook. She made some yummy Thai sticky rice (the recipe is in her cookbook "Introduction to Asian Cooking" by Kristin Enkvetchakul, published in 2006). She and her husband let us borrow their awesome commercial-grade hotdog machine.

Bill shuttled the boxes of clothes and other supplies from her house to ours and we set it all up in our garage the night before. If I were smarter, I would've started setting everything up in the garage 2 or 3 nights before. I also baked chocolate crinkles the night before. We ended up going to bed at 2am. Then I got up at 5am to straighten whatever I could before we opened at 7am.

Saturday was very busy and I was thankful to have wonderful friends and family to help. We were on our feet all day. I didn't even have time to take pictures during the sale so I took pictures after everyone had left.

Most of the people whom we didn't know personally found our ad in the newspaper. One couple found my ad on craigslist and came specifically because I had advertised it as a benefit for Down syndrome. They lived in a neighboring city and have a daughter with Down syndrome. It was wonderful to make yet another DS connection.

On another note, my thoughtful nephew made this sign to put on the door to the kitchen. It says, "Employees only."

I had a radical idea to offer prizes at our garage sale. Shoppers are issued a raffle ticket for every $5 spent. It actually helped encourage most people to either buy more or donate what would've been their change. We also had a few friends come to donate but not buy anything. 2 raffle tickets were issued for every $5 donated (without a purchase).

There were 10 prize buckets to choose from. The most popular one was for movie tickets, followed by restaurant gift certificates. I am extremely thankful for the prizes that were donated by generous business owners and friends in the area.

Matthew drew the winners at the end of day 2 of the garage sale. It was the best random way to pick winners and a great way to practice some functional math skills, i.e. I'd ask him to give me one ticket only from each little tub. If he gave me 2 or more, I wouldn't take any tickets from him.

MAY 21, DAY 3
We've decided to do another garage sale this Saturday, May 21, while we still have everything set-up in our garage and will be adding more to what we have. We It will sort of symbolic of Down syndrome with the triplication of the 21st chromosome. The date "21" would signify the 21st chromosome and it would be the 3rd day for our garage sale.


Melissa said...

I'm glad to hear the sale was a success and hope this weekend is good too!

Rochelle said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome! Praying for another successful day. Sure wish we were closer we would love to come help!

Maybe one of the local news or radio stations would throw out a free ad online for it? Just a thought.