As a lot of you know, Washington Nationals short stop Ian Desmond is raising money to help try to end the disease Neurofibromatosis, which is also called NF. NF is mostly non-malignant brain tumors in the cranial nerve VIII.
Ian met a friend Ethan from South Carolina who has Neurofibromatosis type II. Since he befriended Ethan, NF has been very important to Ian.
Have you seen this video from Ian, talking about why he is raising awareness for NF research?
Matt’s Bats – How did you get involved with this charity and with Ian?
Allan – I want to preface my answer by saying that this campaign is really about Ian Desmond wanting to do something positive with his platform, and wanting to support a great cause: raising awareness for neurofibromatosis research, and raising money to end the disease.
As for how we got involved, Ian supported Nats Archive throughout 2013 by wearing the shirts that we make for charity and by interacting with us on Twitter. I can’t tell you how much this meant to those of us at the Archive. We wanted to do something to repay this, while also figuring out a way to get the fans involved at the same time. That’s sort of our “mission statement” – we want to make fans laugh, sure, but we also want to get the fans involved and support the players in ways that extend past the playing field. Indiegogo – a “crowdfunding” platform – seemed like the perfect way to help use Ian’s public platform to rally the fans around a player’s cause while also raising much needed awareness.
We selected The Children’s Tumor Foundation through Ian’s relationship with his friend, Ethan Brown, who suffers from type 2 neurofibromatosis. CTF is the leading charity on neurofibromatosis research, and has earned a four star Charity Navigator rating. The folks at CTF have been super helpful in organizing this campaign, and we’re very happy to be helping them to raise money.
Last, but certainly not least, all of us at Nats Archive have been moved by Ethan’s story. So a large part of this is, we want to make him proud and do whatever we can to end NF.
MB – Do you think you will reach your fundraising goal?
Allan – We actually hit our goal of $10,000 within five days of opening the campaign, which is both really exciting and incredibly humbling. The generosity of the Nationals’ fan base has been amazing.
Before the campaign began, we settled on $10,000 as a first goal. It seemed like a realistic fundraising goal that would present an achievable but meaningful challenge. Ian has a great platform and even better fans, and the general thought we had was, “hey, if 1,000 fans give $10 each, we’ll make our first goal.” We thought that number was something that Nats fans could really rally around and achieve. That said, $10,000 was always just the first step; now we’ve got our sights set on our next goal, $20,000, which we definitely believe we will hit. Nats fans have proven again and again to be very generous, and this fundraiser is no exception.
I would like to mention that, as Ian has said: While we certainly want to help raise money for the CTF, the real focus of this campaign is to raise awareness among the fanbase about neurofibromatosis – a disease which is not well understood, and even less well known by the public.
MB – When people donate, they can be listed on the Wall of Fame. Can you explain more about what the Wall of Fame is?
Allan – This will be a custom graphic made just for the Indiegogo campaign, which will feature the names (or Twitter handles) of donors in various groups based on their donations. When the campaign is completed, we’ll be sharing this graphic as much as we can, featuring it on our website, and hopefully elsewhere in the blogosphere/twittersphere/Internet as well.
MB – A lot of the prizes already got sold out. Are you planning to donate more prizes?
Allan – The answer is yes, absolutely. As the fundraiser progresses and we achieve certain fundraising milestones, we will be releasing more items. In fact, we just announced a work of custom art by artist Hillary Werth (Jayson’s sister), which is available now on the campaign page. In addition, we have more signed baseballs and signed gloves, as well as additional signed items – including some cool stuff that we haven’t announced yet, but we’re sure will get people excited. There will also be some prizes with a “Nats Archive flair” which you can expect once the fundraiser gets closer to $20,000.
I will say one thing: Ian has been incredibly generous here. Not just with items to give away, but also with his time. Signed stuff, game tickets, those aren’t free – not to mention the time he’s spent helping to organize everything and get the word out. I’m sure he’d never admit it, but he’s done a lot here, and as a fan it’s really inspiring to see a professional athlete donate so much energy into a cause like this.
Please check out The Nationals Archive website for lots of Nats and baseball related jokes, but first check out Ian Desmond’s fundraiser to raise money for NF!