Thursday February 09 2017 11:14 AM
'Oh, give a little. Helps a lot’ - Quotation from The Snapper, by Roddy Doyle
When the ‘MS and Me’ blog team were looking at the blog topic schedule for this year, the ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS fundraising campaign’ option appealed to me immediately. Because I wear red lipstick and spend, what some might say, is a disproportionate amount of time talking about it! I don’t remember exactly when I decided to ditch subtler tones and go red, but I think it was around the time I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It provides a moral boost of sorts and a distraction from the sometimes sunken eyes, creating the illusion that all was well, even if it isn’t. The red lippie has become my fight song and my security blanket. I often mention it in blogs and as an unexpected consequence I have received numerous lipstick related gifts and cards that always make me smile.
But of course, the ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ campaign is greater than one gal’s war paint. It is a global fundraising campaign that raises funds and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. Between now and February 14th, Multiple Sclerosis Ireland along with 11 other countries are asking people ‘what are you doing to KISS GOODBYE TO MS?’ The campaign calls on supporters to wear, dare or share to fundraise: ’Wear’ red lipstick (or anything red) and post your pout on social media, using the hashtag #kissgoodbyetoms and texting ‘Smooch’ to 50300 to donate €4. ‘Dare’ by getting sponsored to do an event. ‘Share’ by holding a fundraising event. What better way is there to share the Valentine’s Day love?
But can a donation of just €4 really make a difference? Of course it can, you just need to think BIG. The phenomenon of crowdfunding whereby a large number of people donate a small amount of money for a specified project has been around for a long time. Did you know that the first such campaign in the United States of America was one to raise funds towards the Statue of Liberty in the 1880’s? The Statue was a diplomatic gift from France but the USA had been unable to raise $250,000 for a granite pedestal for the statue (around $6.3m in today's prices). But following a newspaper campaign in ‘The New York World’ and the small donations of hundreds of residents the base was eventually built.
In recent years crowdfunding really came to the fore in Ireland. As a result, feature films have been made that may never have reached the big screen, books have been bound that would have remained unpublished and indeed, the profiles of many charities have been raised.
I’m hoping that ‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’ will have a broad appeal. The campaign can raise much needed funds for Multiple Sclerosis Ireland – a charity that has done so much to help me and countless other people with MS and their families, on days when the red lippy just doesn’t cut it! Increased funding will assist research that may someday lead to a cure for MS but in the meantime improves patient options.
This campaign is FUN. It’s your chance to strike a pose or just to do something silly all in the name of charity. Why not go all out and do a marriage proposal? If it all goes pear shaped you can dismiss it as a ’dare’ for the Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign. If the proposal goes well, ‘share’ your video on social media and become an internet sensation!
There’s no need to buy me chocolates, flowers or a card for Valentine’s Day. Just text ‘Smooch’ to 50300 to donate €4 to Kiss Goodbye to MS, and don’t forget the #kissgoodbyetoms hashtag and I will be a happy woman.
Psst - I thought that I’d mention that I am running low on red lipstick. I’m not dropping hints. I swear…
First published February 2016