After the past year, we could all use a little comfort and relaxation this holiday season. A recent segment on NBC’s “Today” show predicted that the trend this year is “buying less but better,” and…
Published On: Dec 7, 2020
Last Updated On: Feb 16, 2021
NEA Advocacy and Community Outreach Ambassador Amy organized a a fundraiser for NEA during Eczema Awareness Month. Our Development Director Rachel Lee Holstein spoke with Amy to find out what motivated her to fundraise for NEA and get her tips for running a successful fundraiser.
“Our family fundraises for the National Eczema Association (NEA) because it’s our way of saying thanks and paying it back. I think NEA is such a tremendous organization and so important to the eczema community that I want to make sure I can do whatever I can to support its efforts.
“It’s been empowering for my daughter Ella to be part of fundraising. When donations started coming in (to NEA) thanks to our efforts she said, ‘I didn’t know how many people cared about me.” – Amy Chrnelich, RN, BSN, CCRN, eczema warrior.
Amy has been a clinical nurse expert working in pediatric intensive care for the past 23 years. She lives in central New Jersey and is mom to four children, including Ella, five years old. Amy shared her story with us and explained why she and her family fundraise for NEA.
When did you find NEA?
Our daughter Ella was diagnosed with eczema at three weeks old, and I’m grateful I found NEA early on in our journey. Even as a pediatric nurse, eczema had not been on my radar. With all my medical knowledge I was a complete novice at eczema, including how to manage it and what to do. NEA has been a huge resource for me through some really dark times.
How has NEA helped your family?
I found a ton of information on NEA’s website including the NEA Seal of Acceptance program. I depend on it whenever I’m at the store.
NEA helped me to feel part of a community. I didn’t have anyone in my circle of friends or family who had any real experience with eczema. We lacked that community and that connection of “We’ve been there too.” NEA helped connect me to other moms who understood what we were going through and the burden and suffering we were experiencing.
What does fundraising for NEA mean to you and your family? Why do you do it?
Having been on this journey with Ella it was really important we did something meaningful to give back.
Something that reminded us how dark those days were and how much we’ve achieved. At the core of it is our healing process. We feel so blessed we came through the storm and are on the other side of it. It feels good to pay it back. I want to help other people through the storm.
We had family and friends who wanted to help us but didn’t know how. I gave them donating to NEA as a way to help us and other families with eczema.
What advice would you give to other people who want to fundraise for NEA as a way to give back?
My first piece of advice, “You can do this.” You can make your fundraising efforts as big or as little as you want.
When we first started fundraising I used Facebook and Instagram to tell Ella’s story. I did a video and included pictures of Ella during some of her worst days with eczema. Include your whole family. My 12-year-old daughter Maggie loves to write, and she wrote about what it’s like to be a sibling of someone struggling with eczema. We got a new wave of people donating. I said, “I know there’s a lot of places you can donate, but this is OUR personal story.”
I wanted to appeal to people’s empathy and let them know much eczema can impact people’s lives. We got feedback from friends, family and co-workers who told us, “We didn’t know you were struggling so much.” It brought a lot of awareness. It was a way to honor Ella.
When people read our stories and realize how deep the struggle can go, they want to help.
December is a great time to fundraise for NEA and/or make your own donation. Let us know if you’d like any tips to get started.