Seniors Make MUscle for MD Association

Melanie Quintanilla, Reporter

What started as the late night idea of two seniors turned into a window of opportunity to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Senior Physical Therapy majors Jason Hunter and Jeff Smith put together an apparel fundraiser called MUscle, an idea which was sparked by the popular Live Strong bracelets to fight cancer.

“Then I got thinking, what could I do here at Misericordia University that could be easily recognizable and yet still beneficial? So with that thought in mind, I contacted Jeff and from there on we built on it for a few weeks. After that we knew that we were on to something” said Hunter.

Hunter and Smith used the MU from Misericordia University and combined it with the word “muscle” to get MUscle.

On behalf of the Physical Therapy Club, Hunter and Smith received approval from Darcy Brodmerkel, Director of Student Activities, and other administers to run the fundraiser and use the MU logo.

The fundraiser includes sales of a T-shirt and a sweatshirt with MUscle printed on the front.

“By means of social media, we were able to generate over $500 in sales within the first hour. This was overwhelming for Jeff and I,” said Hunter.

Hunter and Smith set off on the effort because they felt college is more than just “attending classes and taking tests,” said Hunter.

“You can be doing other things like contributing to your community and it does not even have to be physical effort because Jeff and I are not really putting a lot of effort into it and yet we still are accomplishing something that not many people can say they have.”

The two said the work was time consuming.

“It was big undertaking because Jason and I did not anticipate the demand and it was pretty stressful. Between setting up meetings, collecting orders and money, distributing the clothing, while also trying to keep our grades up the entire time, it turned out to be extremely stressful” said Smith.

Together Hunter and Smith contributed to all of the production tasks, including contacting suppliers to negotiating costs.

Hunter and Smith were able to raise $1,000. Proceeds benefited both the PT club and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“We really were surprised at all the support that we received. We knew it was going to be big, but we never anticipated exactly how big it would become,” said Smith.

They said one stumbling block was figuring out how much inventory to order to match demand.

“We just did not realize when we set the amount to order that there would be more people who wanted them, so we kind of sold ourselves short just because it was extremely overwhelming because it was also happening in the middle of the semester and we had a lot of stuff going on.”

The demand for another order is “through the roof,” said Hunter.

“We have intentions of doing a summer release such as selling tank tops, shorts, and maybe even backpacks because we did not realize that once we posted this past release of the shirt and the hoodie how much it would take off. It was definitely more than we expected. So now that the clothes are out and our order is finished, we have people texting us non-stop, and we even have family members and friends who want them,” said Hunter.

Hunter and Smith are now back at the drawing boards trying to come up with specific designs that consumers want.

“We have been in contact with our supplier since the first apparel release, and they are working well with us to create the next line of apparel. We hope to go far above what we accomplished with the first sale, and I strongly believe that we will,” said Hunter.

Hunter and Smith said they quickly surpassed their fundraising goals, and they hope to raise $2,500 during summer.

“There is not a doubt in my mind that if we have a summer release and maybe even a fall release after that selling crewnecks that we can definitely do it. However, it is just tough making arrangements to meet up with everyone for the pre-sale as well as distributing it,” said Hunter.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this effort is that Hunter and Smith did not know anyone suffering from MD.

“We chose to fundraise for muscular dystrophy because since we are aspiring to be physical therapists, muscular dystrophy is a common occurrence that we will see,” said Smith.

Hunter and Smith hope to continue their effort after they graduate in December.

“We both would like to continue this after we graduate, but the first semester of PT school is going to be rough because it is always the hardest,” said Smith.

But they say the result is worth the struggle.

“It was absolutely worth it and I would definitely do it all over again in a heartbeat,” said Smith.

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