Participants going behind bars to help raise money
By KALEY CONNER
Approximately 80 community and business leaders in the Hays area will find themselves behind bars next week.
It's not part of a massive crime wave; rather, they will volunteer to "serve time" for a good cause. The Muscular Dystrophy Association will have a lock-up fundraiser Wednesday to raise money and awareness for the many Kansans suffering from various neuromuscular diseases.
"It's a fun idea, and it's easy when you have something fun behind the purpose of getting people to support you," said Lacey Mills, executive director of the MDA's Wichita-based Ark Valley Chapter, which serves central and western Kansas.
The event will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fox Pavilion, 1202 Main. Those volunteering to "go to jail" will strive to collect "bail money" from friends. Each volunteer has a fundraising goal of $1,600, and they can begin raising money ahead of time, Mills said.
The concept of a lock-up fundraiser is not new. The MDA has been hosting similar events nationwide for many years.
"I have people who will go behind bars in their 20s and 30s, and they remember their parents doing that," Mills said.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the organization's efforts to help Kansans suffering from various muscle disorders. The Wichita chapter of MDA serves more than 500 people. The $1,600 raised by one volunteer will be enough money to send two children to an MDA summer camp, Mills said.
Funds also are used to help with medical equipment repairs, support groups and medical research. The area chapter also runs a free clinic for those suffering from various muscular disorders at Via Christi-St. Francis hospital in Wichita.
There are more than 40 types of muscular dystrophy, which vary in severity. Research has helped improve quality of life for many affected by the disease, Mills said, citing one type of the disease as an example.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects young boys, and patients often died by the time they reached their early 20s.
"Now with the research done, we've identified that gene so boys are living into their late 30s and early 40s," she said. "Very exciting things are happening in the research world. Events like the Hays event make that possible."