Alpha Stories

Published on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Standing strong with Building Friends for a Cure

Standing strong with Building Friends for a Cure

Rose McClellan always tried to remain active in the Alpha-1 community after learning that her husband Billy suffered from Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. The two became aware of Billy’s condition following his liver transplant in 1994.

McClellan was a member of the Alpha internet email support list (rather new in those days), and was awarded the Claude Baril Communication Award for her support to list members at an Alpha Association conference in Charlotte in 2000. She attended conferences and education days to learn more and participated in various minor fundraisers. But then fate stepped in and she lost Billy on June 6, 2001. After giving herself time to grieve her loss and catch her breath which involved a “hiatus” of almost ten years, McClellan felt compelled to return to the community and take a bigger stand.

When invited to attend a Building Friends for a Cure training program in Las Vegas, Nevada this past December, McClellan accepted the offer. In her heart, she felt it was time for her to return.

“The camaraderie that happens during the training is unbelievable” expressed McClellan. “I learned that it is essential to “put yourself out there” when asking for donations and not take it personally if someone says no”.

Following her training, McClellan quickly sought out fundraising ideas from her two adult daughters. Pam, the younger of the two, suggested having a Christmas 50/50 at her holiday party. The festivities were not limited to family; Pam had invited many personal and business friends to the event. It was an ideal opportunity to spread the word on Alpha-1.

They charged $10 a ticket and wound up raising $170. Half would be donated to the Alpha-1 Foundation, and the other half given to the winner of the raffle. Surprisingly, when Pam presented the earnings to the winner, they returned it to her. They asked that all the earnings be donated to the Foundation. Such charity opened doors for other people at the party. Two more of Pam’s friends took out their checkbooks and donated funds to the Foundation. Overall, McClellan and her daughter were able to raise $340 through their 50/50 Christmas Fundraiser.

McClellan wrapped up the evening by sharing information about Alpha-1, as she was taught at the BFC training. “Everyone was curious to hear more about it” says McClellan.

Now, she is involved in the George Washington Bridge Walk for the Alpha-1 Foundation, taking place Saturday, May 7. The team goal has been set at $5000, and already they have earned $4,250 in donations. Rose says “it is no coincidence that the Walk is taking place on my and Billy’s 45th wedding anniversary. I know he will be there walking with us.”

“I would say to anyone who is thinking of taking part in the Building Friends for a Cure initiative —“Go for it! The money you raise may just be the amount necessary to find the cure … and save a friend or loved one! Believe!”