Mar. 12, 2018

Fundraising With a Twist – Get Your Walk Team Dancing

There’s a special lady living in North Bergen, New Jersey, with her husband and three children. Her name is Graciela Barco, but lots of people call her Grace, and it suits her. She works as an assistant underwriter for an insurance company, and offers her services as a notary public to people in her community who can’t afford a lawyer.

She also serves as a bilingual ambassador in her community spreading awareness about lupus. “I want everyone to know absolutely everything there is to know about lupus,” she says.

That’s because she remembers how she felt when faced with her own lupus diagnosis in 2013 at age 26. “I was scared, confused, and very emotional.”

She learned about the Foundation’s Walk to End Lupus Now® event in 2015. “The Walk day experience is simply amazing,” she says. “It’s a great way to support the cause of education and medical research so that one day we have a cure.”

To raise money for the Walk, Grace and her Walk team members came up with the idea of an annual Zumbathon, open to anyone who makes a donation to the team. A fitness program set to Latin-American pop music, Zumba is a guaranteed fun way to get moving, no special training needed. Grace’s cousin donates his time as DJ and the mayor of nearby Union City arranges the locations, as well as free water for participants. Grace is determined to see attendance at their Zumbathon grow.

To get the word out about the Zumbathon and the Walk, Grace and her team members use social media, word of mouth and put up fliers at the library and laundromats, and other local places that allow it.

The owner of the Spanish language newspaper, “El Especialito” is another valuable connection. “I’ve known him since I was a baby,” Grace says. “He ran an ad promoting the Walk in the paper’s New York edition, and that was pretty cool.”

All of her efforts throughout the year come together on Walk day—and it’s all worth it.

“What motivates me to walk is every single person suffering and fighting lupus every day,” Grace says. “Just seeing so many people come together to support one another is uplifting—it gives me more hope that we will live lupus-free one day.”

Be Powerful and join us for a Spring Walk to End Lupus Now® event! Find a walk in your community and register to start your team today.