10 Year Old Joins Fight Against ALS
May 5, 2005
It is not often that an adult gets to tell a 10 year old that “you did a very mature thing.” But that is exactly what Jason Ehrlich’s parents and teachers told him after he planned, organized and implemented a successful fundraiser at Nesconset Elementary School in Nesconset, New York on behalf of The ALS Association.
In October 2004, Jason’s 78 year old grandmother passed away from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was immediately compelled to do something on behalf of his departed grandmother. His idea was to sell wristbands for ALS. But where could a 10 year old find fundraising wristbands for a disease that is not widely known?
That’s when Jason contacted The ALS Association. He inquired about selling bracelets and was thrilled to learn that he could purchase red wristbands online through The Association.
Because Jason seemed genuinely committed to the cause his parents agreed to put up the money to purchase the wristbands. Initially, Jason’s father and aunt sold the bands at work to colleagues and friends. In the meantime, Jason started to plan the fundraiser for his school.
This would be a little more involved then he originally thought. "The hardest part was getting permission from the school,” says Jason. He began by writing a letter to the school principal. In the letter he explained his desire to hold a fundraiser and asked if he could meet with her to discuss his idea. His principal was impressed with Jason and his proposal. She presented it to the PTA and the school's "We Care - We Share" committee for their support. Jason's idea was enthusiastically endorsed.
With permission granted from the school, Jason designed and printed fliers. He then enlisted the help of the PTA and the staff of Nesconset Elementary in distributing the fliers to his peers.
“The response was overwhelming,” recalls Hyman Ehrlich, Jason’s father. They initially bought 175 wristbands for the fundraiser. Once word got out, they quickly purchased an additional 100.
The fundraiser was a tremendous success. Jason sold 224 bands and raised $516, which he happily donated to The Association.
According to Jason’s father, “he went gung ho in selling them. He showed initiative, had an idea and followed through with it.” Jason’s parents are rightfully very proud of their young son.
But as far as Jason is concerned, “the best part of the fundraiser was helping The Association and all the people like my grandmother who have ALS.”