Dorothy Zajac, daughter raises funds to honor father | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Dorothy Zajac, daughter raises funds to honor father

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“My Dad passed away in 2011 due to complications from MDS, and I am looking for a way to help raise funds for this cause in his memory.”

With this simple email message, the idea for the South River Hope, Steps & A Cure Walk/5K Run was born!

Family member and AA&MDSIF volunteer Dorothy Zajac is a busy person just like you – working hard and raising a family.  But, she was also deeply affected by bone marrow failure disease when her father Richard Zajac, known as “Dziadzius” to his grandchildren (Dziadzius is Polish for Grandpa) passed away from complications from MDS.  So Dorothy decided to get involved and give back.  She contacted AA&MDSIF to get started, and we gave her the support and resources she needed to organize a fun and successful walk and 5K.

First, Dorothy had to consider her walk and 5K venue.  Because her brother in law was on the town council of South River, NJ, she thought this would be a perfect town for the walk and 5K.   She knew she could get the support she needed to plan this event.

Next, she considered a date.  Because she wanted to have ample time to plan and promote the event, she started her planning in January for an early June walk.  She also made sure that her event didn’t conflict with any other big events in the area.

Then, she assembled her walk committee. At first, the committee consisted primarily of her, her husband, and her sister and brother in law.  It was a great start and as the planning months went along, other family members and friends also pitched in to help.

As AA&MDSIF helped her with the registration site, marketing materials, insurance, promotion of the event, and other aspects of the walk, Dorothy was busy reaching out to local businesses for sponsorships.  She found a t-shirt vendor and a company to manage race logistics. .  And she continued to promote the walk within her network of family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

The South River Hope, Steps & A Cure Walk/5K Run was held on June 8, and it was a tremendous success!  The event had over 100 participants and 7 walk teams – and over $25,000 was raised for this first ever event.  There were also many wonderful volunteers who helped at the event and contributed to its success. 

Many of the participants said they wanted to come again and help however they could.  Facebook  was buzzing after the event, with participants that came saying the event was great, and they were rallying their friends for next year. 

Dorothy remarked, “We had a great day.  We had lots of people say we did a great job, and they wanted to come back next year. So happy it went well. Very excited to do this again next year. Thanks again!”

Would you like to get involved and give back by organizing a walk or other event?  With the support of AA&MDSIF, it’s easy to do!  Contact Martha Crews at crews@aamds.org to get started or visit our web page.