A Birthday Story

October 14, 2012 in Exciting

By Eric Neevel

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Birthdays! A time for cake, ice cream, celebration of life, and hopefully, gifts. But what if instead of receiving birthday gifts you used the opportunity to give a gift? Recently, we connected with Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD) patient Tanya Martin to discuss what led her to do exactly that.

Tanya -- who has personally suffered with RAD since 2003 -- used her last birthday as an opportunity to raise money for the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF). She set up an online fundraiser and encouraged friends and family members to donate to her cause as a birthday gift for her. Starting her cause just a few weeks before her birthday, it only took a few days to exceed her personal hopes of raising $500. In about a two-week time period Tanya went far beyond her goal by raising a total of $1,161 for the RPF.

Using Causes.com helped Tanya make her idea a reality. “Causes.com makes it really easy. Three easy steps and they had the page ready to start accepting donations.” Then, using the power of social media, she began to promote her cause. “I did a few posts on my blog -- TanyaMartin.com -- about it and almost daily tweeted it on Twitter, shared it on Facebook, and other social websites. Most of the money came from friends and family, [though] some came from the social marketing.”It wasn’t long before the donations started and Tanya’s goal was met.

Tanya explained why she chose the RPF. “I have wanted to start a non-profit for RA since 2006,” she said, but the realities of life with RAD, raising a family, and running a business prevented her from achieving that goal. However, last year her dream of having a non-profit solely for RAD came to be when the RPF was formed. “I feel I got what I wanted for years. RPF definitely has any time, marketing, or any other help I can give them. I really appreciate that there is finally a place for patients with RA.” She explained that her passion for the RPF is more than her simply being affected. “My mother had severe Rheumatoid Arthritis starting in her early 30’s. I can remember opening jars, putting gas in the car, or just running into the store for her before I was even a teenager.” Tanya also has a sister who has RAD as well, making her fundraising cause a family cause.

One of the nice things about birthdays is that we always know when they are coming, and Tanya is already making plans for her next one. “I will definitely do this again for my next birthday and I might use it for a personal wish. Causes.com also does memorial, personal, holiday, wedding, run/walk, and ride wishes.” Using their services made this an easy and achievable goal for anyone. “I would ask for a higher amount and start a month before my birthday instead of a couple of weeks,” she said in closing. A gift worth sharing for any cause and worth considering for ours, and one that looks beyond receiving to giving again and again.