When Sara Thames was five months pregnant with her first child, she went in for a routine ultrasound and was given the unexpected news that her son would likely be born with clubfoot. Sara and her husband spent the next months consulting with an orthopedist, determining a treatment plan, and preparing for their son’s birth. Little B was enrolled in treatment at one week old, going through casting, a tenotomy, and bracing.
As B’s first birthday approached, the family knew they wanted to make it a special one and decided to raise money for MiracleFeet. Their efforts were a smashing success, bringing in a total of $4,260, far surpassing their original goal of $365! Even more importantly, their fundraiser brought the issue of clubfoot treatment in low-income countries front and center and we couldn’t be more grateful for their dedication and advocacy.
Sara was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions about her fundraiser.
Tell us about your connection to clubfoot?
Sara: I actually had never really heard about clubfoot until we were told at our 20-week ultrasound that it was likely our son had it. Once he was born, it was confirmed that he had a pretty classic case of bilateral clubfoot and our clubfoot journey officially began when he received his first cast at one week old!
How did you learn about MiracleFeet?
Sara: Once we started our clubfoot journey, we did a lot of research to learn more about the treatment process. Somehow, that google search led us to information on the MiracleFeet website. I was so thrilled to learn that the organization is local to us and the education advocacy and work MiracleFeet does overseas is so inspiring!
Why was it important to you to do a fundraiser?
Sara: We wanted to make our son’s first birthday really special, but I guess it’s hard to justify what is or isn’t a “special” birthday party when they’re just turning one. We bounced a few ideas around and finally decided that this was the perfect opportunity to give back to others- which is something our family really values.
Your fundraiser was a success! How did you do it? Share your tips with others.
Sara: We put a lot of thought into the fundraiser and how to best share it with our family and friends. We didn’t want people to feel like we were simply “asking for money” so we were really diligent in our fundraising approach. We decided to launch the fundraiser about a month before our son’s first birthday and we started out by simply educating others about clubfoot and the experience we’ve had. I recently started a blog, so I decided to simply share our journey so far using the blog as a platform. This, upfront, provided a solid “why” and a personal connection to our goal.
We also planned everything from the hashtag to our campaign end date. We knew that the actual birthday party theme was going to be Toy Story, so we tried to come up with a hashtag and campaign name that reflected this. We wanted to highlight our son, whom we refer to as B, so a close friend came up with “You’ve Got a Friend in B” instead of the popular “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” Our end date was specifically selected to match up to the one year anniversary of B receiving his first set of casts, which was June 1st, and our goal was set at $365, one dollar for every day that B had been in our lives.
Once all of this was figured out and planned, we posted on social media at least every other week and just shared facts about clubfoot. The MiracleFeet website has a LOT of really great facts and statistics that really hit home with us. We also explained our reasoning for our campaign on the back of our actual party invitations and provided invited guests with a QR code that linked them directly to the campaign page.
What would you tell other people considering a fundraiser for MiracleFeet?
Sara: Go for it! MiracleFeet is an amazing organization that is changing the quality of life for thousands around the world! I know that the concept of a birthday fundraiser can be overwhelming, and we honestly weren’t even sure we’d exceed the $365. I would never have imagined the positive feedback we’ve received from family and friends, nor did I think we would collectively raise over $4,000! As long as you’re passionate and wholeheartedly believe in why you’re fundraising, you will make a difference and be successful.
Read more MiracleFeet donor stories.