The Spina Bifida Association’s (SBA) 4b4the4th campaign begins in March and runs through the 4th of July. Throughout the campaign, captains compete against each other to raise the most money possible for SBA. To incentivize them along the way, SBA holds drawings for gift cards and SBA merchandise. The captain who raises the most funds by Independence Day receives a $400 gift card to the retailer of his or her choice.
Kailynn Ott and her family have been involved in 4b4the4th for the past several years, raising money in honor of her twin sister, Kaleigh, who has Spina Bifida. They participate in 4b4the4th for two reasons. One is to raise awareness about Spina Bifida and educate people who aren’t affected by it. The second reason is to support an organization that does great things for people living with the birth defect. Kailynn encourages people to donate to her 4b4the4th campaign because “any amount you donate will go to a great cause…and will make people’s lives so much better.”
For Kailynn, growing up with a sibling with Spina Bifida was the norm, since it’s all she’s ever known. She would often accompany Kaleigh to her medical appointments and recalls getting frustrated because people would ask intrusive questions and didn’t understand Kaleigh’s disability. This is because Kaleigh walks unaided, so you cannot tell at first glance that she has Spina Bifida. Because of her experience, Kailynn learned not to judge a book by its cover and encourages others to do the same. “Even if you can’t tell on the outside, always be aware of what people might be going through on the inside,” she says. “And keep an open mind and an open heart.”
Kailynn also encourages others to join the 4b4the4th campaign because it’s a fun way to make a difference in the Spina Bifida community. For those that do, she has a few fundraising tips. She encourages campaign captains to be vocal. They should spread the word about 4b4the4th as often as possible, talking to people about the campaign and posting about it on social media. People should not be afraid to reach out to family and friends who might be willing to donate because most are happy to support such an important and worthy cause.
Since 2016, the Ott Family has raised more than $1,300 for SBA. They have also taken advantage of the 4b4the4th campaign’s annual fundraising blitz, which is held on June 30th. During that event, SBA attempts to raise more than $10,000 in 24 hours and gives special incentives to donors. Plans are now underway for the 2019 blitz, which is a great opportunity for campaign captains to boost their fundraising totals.
For more information on becoming a campaign captain or donating to 4b4the4th, visit www.sbevents.org/event/4b4the4th2019. For specific questions regarding the campaign or SBA’s other fundraising initiatives, contact Liz Merck, Director of Development, at [email protected] or (202) 618-4754.