• Gabi Giacomin

Fundraising ideas to raise money for therapies for your child with Down syndrome


Guest post by Gabi Giacomin

I admit I’m no expert when it comes to fundraising, but my partner and I have managed to pull together money for therapy and courses when we needed it, despite being on one low income.

The other reason I’m writing this post is that I wish someone had written this for me a year or two ago.

The first thing, which I can’t emphasise enough is: LET GO OF YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS!

I would say most of us hear about a course which costs $2000 or a therapy which costs even more and the first thing that enters our head is ‘ too expensive’ or ‘too far away’ or ‘too time consuming’. Yes, they may be all those things, but if you really decide in your mind you need it, you will find a way to get it. If you say to yourself ‘I need to do this now, before my child gets too old’ you will find a way to do it.

Secondly, PRIORITISE: You don’t need to afford everything at once. Make a list of what’s really important and start with that. Don’t try to do everything at once.

Thirdly, PLAN: When you sit down and work out all the therapies you want for your child it might seem like a long, unachievable list…Osteopath, Chiropractor, Naturopath, Supplements, Neurodevelopmentalist, Anat Baniel Therapist, Kinesiologist, Craniosacral Osteopath etc. A long list of therapies not on your Betterstart list. In reality, you only need to see an Osteopath every 6 weeks. A Chiropractor every four weeks. A neurdevelopmentalist every six months. A naturopath every 4 weeks and then every 3 months. There’s no reason you can’t see a Craniosacral Therapist too. Just make a plan to see them alternating weeks or fortnights so you only spend $100 per fortnight, achievable even on the tightest budget. Don’t be cajoled into seeing a therapist every week if you can’t afford it. You should set the pace and see them when you want, at a time that suits you and change the appointment if it overlaps with something else.

EXPENSIVE ITEMS: these are the ones you really need to put your willpower into. The best place to start is GoFundMe.com or a similar fundraising website. Limit your audience to family and friends. Don’t bother parents with children with DS, they have enough fundraising to do for themselves. There are tips online about how to run a successful online campaign such as, ask five close friends to advertise the campaign on their fb page to reach a wider audience. Get someone (or do it yourself) to start the donations with $200 - set the standard high and people will do the same. Don’t say to yourself ‘I have no friends’ or ‘no one will donate to us’, again let go of those negative thoughts and go for it. It takes a leap of faith, but isn’t your child worth it?

Once you have raised a small amount from fundraising sites, you will have the confidence to find a bit more to cover your expenses. Get an interest free credit card for 15 months and vow to pay it off in that time period. Or, you may have a rich aunt or uncle who you could ask for money. They may be happy to help. Most people love donating money to children with Down Syndrome.

LESS EXPENSIVE ITEMS: If you are in Australia, you have access to $2,100 worth of resources from Betterstart each year. It can and has been used to pay for things like MNRI therapy. Don’t believe what other therapists or people tell you. We did it. Our Speech Therapist paid for my husband’s ticket to the IAHP course in Melbourne using Betterstart. If your therapist says they can’t, tell them they can. They may not realise its possible. If they won’t, try another therapist who will. Write an email explaining that you are looking for a therapists to pay for … and if they are open minded and switched on enough to know what it is and to do it, stick with them, they are probably a good therapist.

I should add that I have taken lists of resources I wanted to purchase to Betterstart therapists who ignored my requests. I stopped seeing them. There is no reason they can’t provide you with resources you want especially if they are well researched and used widely in the DS community. Find a therapist who will. Speech therapists can Skype you.

OTHER TIPS:

- Some therapists will let you go on a PAYMENT PLAN. Don’t be afraid to ask. My daughter had TOMATIS therapy last year and we paid $200 per fortnight until we paid off $2000.

- If you don’t like asking people for money, SAVE. My partner and I were saving all our money - $600 a fortnight last year for 3 months to afford a $4,000 week of MNRI.

I’m afraid that’s my fundraising advice exhausted. What I would love to do in the future is lobby the government to allow NDIS to be used more easily to cover alternative therapies.

Warm Regards,

Gabi Giacomin

Further reading

Ultimate List of Grants and Resources for Families with Special Needs - For families in the USA

#fundraising

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