July Fundraising – Flamingo Flocking

Start your own Flocking Fundraiser to support SDSF and raise awareness for our rare disease. Contact Michelle at michelle@shwachman-diamond.org if interested.

When you have a rare disease you have to make a pretty big noise to get awareness and fundraising. More common diseases have months, days, dedicated teams to fundraising, etc. Being rare, it means a lot of those duties get assigned to parents just like us. My son is 5 years old and has been living with SDS since he was born. We have had to make some pretty big noise just to have doctors hear us, which means we have had to travel all over the country. We have been from coast to coast, literally. Seattle to Maine. The only way we have been able to see all of these doctors is from raising funds ourselves. Not to mention, many of the research grants are funded by fundraisers done by parents. It both fuels and frustrates me that we have to fight so hard to get diagnosed and raise money to find a cure. It comes with being rare, I suppose. We’ve done t-shirt sales, bake sales, benefit auctions, yard sales, bracelet fundraisers, and much more. While all of these were helpful fundraisers, we still found ourselves short and out of time. I stumbled upon a fundraising idea that involved moving 50 flamingos from lawn to lawn. We started this fundraiser last summer and the response we have received is amazing. There was a waitlist to receive them. People were WAITING in a line to pay us money! It was a surreal feeling. One family got tired of waiting so they decided to buy their own flock, for us to flock them with… and then let us keep the birds for fundraising purposes.

We sneak like ninjas and place 50 flamingos in the victim’s yard. Sometimes they are home, and sometimes they come home completely surprised. It raises anywhere from $15-$30 per yard that we attack, sometimes more. In addition to raising funds, it generates SO much awareness for SDS. Here are a few experiences from people who have been flocked.

“These simple, perky, pink flamingos generate a lot of attention! Without doing much but loitering next to my lawn, they make people ask questions and generate awareness about Nathan and his condition. Then you can’t help but love the little buggers! Awareness is key to understanding, supporting and fundraising.”

“When the birds landed in our yard my kids were thrilled! We had seen them around town but never stopped to see why they were around town. We live on a very busy street and the number of people that drive by, slow down, and honk is incredible. What a smart way to raise awareness of something so rare! Almost as rare as the Michigan flamingo.”

“We were home when we received the flock. My children ran outside and immediately started playing near them, weaving in and out. Michelle was even nice enough to let the kids help her place them. They still talk about what an amazing week we had with the birds, and I still tell people the great tale of Nathan and the 50 flamingos.”

If you’re interested in starting your own flock for SDSF, please reach out to Michelle via email at michelle@shwachman-diamond.org and she can send you her flocking how-to files.