From the Desk – September 2007

From my discussions and interaction with many new members of the MD community, I have found a common thread; many are amazed how we have grown so much and delivered such a wide range of services in a relatively short period of organisational evolution with very modest resources.

My reports are often written retrospectively and this is a direct consequence for the need to highlight the MDA’s achievements in organisational and programmed service delivery growth. I am often asked how we achieved this and it is difficult to articulate within these reports suffice to say that the driving force IS the MDA.

Certainly, I have maintained a strong conviction in a paradigm based on having a vision where anything is possible, but tempered by achieving a crawl before a walk, before a run, prior to securing the resources necessary to complete a successful marathon. This philosophy was paralleled in my personal preparation for ChallengeMD! 2006 Vietnam, where I had readily acknowledged that age, fitness, possession of a “slab” instead of a “six-pack” all conspired to a significant hurdle required of conquering the challenge. And conquer we did!

Today I am back in training for another challenge – ChallengeMD! 2007 Cambodia where 25 other riders have committed to Make a Difference. The time spent in the saddle pedaling to the MD Centre in the morning and back home at night provides much time for thought and reflection on what is important to me in the running of the MDA.


Boris M Struk

September 2007

Ethics in program development; ethics in service delivery and ethics in fundraising together with strong motivation is paramount and a foremost consideration in all that we do. If it sounds right, delivers appropriate results in a cost effective manner expending resources that have been won for purpose then the corollary is – success.

Here at MDA we have never relied on various methods used by some, to garner financial support. For example, telemarketing is one of the most expensive methods utilised for donor acquisition. I am saddened that telemarketing is employed by some organisations in a manner that on the surface raises what appears to be good income. However, when the significant costs of running a telemarketing operation are taken into consideration, for example line rentals, predictive dialers, list rentals and many casual and part time employees to man phones, very little is left over to expend on programs and services.

I fail to see how any responsible individual tasked with managing an organisation could justify raising several million dollars through telemarketing, yet at the end of the day have such a modest sum available after expenses to deliver a service that short changes the very people needing that support. But then I presume that is the very reason why we are finding an increasing interest and demand in our programs and service delivery, because in the absence of our actions there would be little support available.

Reputations are not built on what you are going to do – but on what has been achieved.

The following statistics provide some insight into the extent that our programs impact on members of the MD community.  Since inception of each program the MDA has achieved the delivery of significant hours of;

Education & Training 135,626

CampMDA Program Hours 163,137

Futures For Young Adults  60,583

OperationMD ShortBreak 28,710

OperationMD SWAP 11,862

Respite Delivered 355,545

In amongst all these program hours delivered by the MDA, the lives of individuals and families are positively affected. A recent letter from one of our members has certainly provoked a deep sense of personal satisfaction in the knowledge that we have made a difference.

Jean, a 74 yo MD member affected by a NMD and program participant had these wonderful words penned –

“Thank you for the opportunity you provided me to stay at Wheelie’s Rest for five days with such wonderful people. I will carry the sense of love that surrounded all of us with me for a very long time. … I’ve come home with a new sense of courage that it is possible to go away and do things I haven’t dreamed of for many moons. … it was being with people who despite their great difficulties carry on with courage and enterprise. This inspiration gave me a new lease on life. Thank You MDA”

At the end of the day, MDA is all about maximising the support to the community affected by Muscular Dystrophy.

With less than eight weeks of preparation left before I head off on ChallengeMD! 2007 Cambodia, I am still seeking support from the community far and wide to sponsor our efforts. I want to ride in the knowledge that I have your support and for you to know that your support will Make a Difference. That support will be tangible, as Jean said of her stay at Wheelie’s Rest – that property was purchased from the sponsorship and fundraising from ChallengeMD 2006 Vietnam.

I encourage you to support our efforts.

Until next time,