Sampson Independent

Community leaders raise funds for MDA

Dickie Smith didn’t mind spending another day behind bars after being picked up by authorities at his job.

“The folks at the bank were hoping that I would get put in handcuffs by an actual police man and drugged out,” Smith said with a chuckle. “Luckily that didn’t happen.”

Smith, a vice president and market leader for BB&T in Clinton, was one of many professionals who became “jailbirds” under the Eastern Carolinas Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for the Lock-Up. Inside the Coharie Country Club, made calls to raise money to help children adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and related diseases that take away physical strength and mobility.

“It’s a great cause and you just need to have a list to call people who’ll hopefully donate and pledge to help out,” Smith said about raising bail.

About 50 business and community leaders raised close to $29,000 for the fundraiser. Many calls were made to friends, family and colleagues for MDA’s mission. Officials added that the Lock-Up program shows the serious effect neuromuscular diseases have on anyone affected. The Participants (jailbirds) lose their freedom for an hour, but children and adults fighting diseases such as muscular dystrophy don’t have mobility progressively and permanently later. This comes with many challenges.

Liz Shirley, MDA Associate Executive Director, acted as the judge and had fun banging her gavel on the table.

“We want people to feel like they’re having fun while they’re raising money for our kids,” Shirley said.

Katherine Fullwood, fundraising coordinator, added that jailbirds were picked up every hour. She said it was an amazing turnout for Clinton’s size.

“We had an amazing group of business leaders for our Lock-Up event and we’re so grateful for their participation,” Fullwood stated in a news release. “With support from the Clinton community and local businesses like Coharie Country Club, we are able to raise critical dollars to fund our mission and give MDA families the opportunity to live longer and grow stronger.”

The top jailbirds at this year’s event include Stacy Verner from Wal-Mart; Chris Hunter of Southeast Foundation and Crawl Space Repair; Tish Pope from Select Bank & Trust; Steve Wilkins from Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church; Rick Fowler, Performance Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep; and Renita Sasser from C&R Auto Sales.

Funds will help MDA fund research and provide people with life-enhancing programs and support services, including state-of-the-art multidisciplinary care at the MDA Care Center at UNC in Chapel Hill. They also make MDA summer camp possible where children can experience a week at Victory Junction, with no cost to their families.

Dickie Smith speaks to Liz Shirley, Muscular Dystrophy Association Associate Executive Director, after raising funds for the organization.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_MDA_1.jpgDickie Smith speaks to Liz Shirley, Muscular Dystrophy Association Associate Executive Director, after raising funds for the organization.
Liz Shirley, Associate Executive Director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, enjoyed serving as the judge for the Lock-Up, which raises funds to help children adults with muscular dystrophy.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_MDA_2.jpgLiz Shirley, Associate Executive Director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, enjoyed serving as the judge for the Lock-Up, which raises funds to help children adults with muscular dystrophy.
Community leaders make calls to get out of jail during the Lock-Up event, which raises funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_MDA_3.jpgCommunity leaders make calls to get out of jail during the Lock-Up event, which raises funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
‘Jailbirds’ raise almost $30,000 during Lock-Up.

By Chase Jordan

cjordan@clintonnc.com

About MDA

MDA is leading the fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. We use our collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger by finding research breakthroughs across diseases; caring for individuals from day one; and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America. For more information, visit mda.org

— Muscular Dystrophy Association