The Eliminate Project is about protecting newborn and future babies from tetanus and helping them reach another birthday. To raise awareness about the importance of this task, Kiwanian Bob Marshall of the Norfolk, Nebraska, Kiwanis Club decided to use two things at his disposal: his 60th birthday and his love of music.
A member of several bands throughout his life, Bob’s musical repertoire includes a variety of instruments. “I’ve been a music-maker for most of my life, starting with piano lessons, saxophone in school, then picking up drums, guitar and bass on my own,” he says.
So it was only natural for birthday plans to turn into a jam session with as many old rock colleagues as he could find. But as the idea matured, Marshall realized the event would be more meaningful if it could benefit a worthy cause. As a pharmacist and a Walter Zeller Fellow convinced of the ease of eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus with immunizations, he knew just the one.
“When we learned how gruesome it is to die of tetanus and how easy it is to prevent it, it was pretty easy to jump on the bandwagon. Try as I might, I can’t think of anything better to spend my money on!” he jokes.
When the idea matured into a means to expose the community to The Eliminate Project, his club—a US$100,000 donor—was more than enthusiastic. Kiwanians donated nearly 50 silent auction items, ranging from a Nebraska Cornhusker office chair to woodworking projects and homemade pies. Club member Randy Dee, also a manager of the Times Square Event Center, generously donated not only the party’s venue, but a dollar of the profit made on every drink purchased that night.
“We want to host this event annually, or even more often!” he says.
Advertised with flyers, radio interviews and newspaper articles, the event attracted nearly 200 attendees eager to dance, mingle and support a worthwhile cause. Though no admission was charged, the auction and monetary donations raked in nearly US$5000.
“My wife, Heidi, and I love to dance, and as active Kiwanians, we both know the importance of The Eliminate Project, so the evening was a real winner,” shares club member and Vice Governor of the Nebraska-Iowa District Steve McNally.
The event was so successful that the club is already planning to host another. Everyone wishes Marshall could have birthdays more frequently. –Courtney Meyer
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