SMA Research Gets Boost From “Annie Girl” Fundraiser Cookbook

There are two babies born a day with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and yet it is relatively unknown.  That’s one of the reasons Sheila Violette decided to begin a campaign to raise awareness of this incurable and tragic disease.  The other is a great deal more personal.  Sheila Violette is the grandmother of a young child named Ann Marie (Annie Girl) who sadly passed away from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA.  “She was diagnosed when she was three months old.  They told us she had sixty days to live.  She lived until she was nine months old.”V0203coiled

When Sheila and her daughter were first told about Annie’s condition they were caught off guard.  “We were shocked.  She was a completely healthy little baby girl, smiling all the time, but early on we noticed that she couldn’t lift her head.  When they told us she had SMA, we hadn’t heard of it before.”

Although relatively unknown, SMA is the number one genetic killer of babies.  1 in 40 people are carriers, unknowingly.  1 in 6,000 babies are born with SMA.  “The gene can be detected with a simple blood test,” explains Violette.

Raising awareness of a disease is a tall order, which is why Violette turned to Gateway for a fundraising cookbook.  “We looked at several companies but we ended up with Gateway because they had the perfect pink coil and they were able to print dividers with a pink tone to them.  We dressed Annie in pink all the time so it was important to include pink in the book’s design in every way we could.  Gateway did such a great job of helping us design the entire book.  The pink dividers included Annie’s picture on them.”

Annie Girl cookbooks sold out immediately after Violette received the first shipment of one hundred copies, so she ordered more.  “We ordered another one hundred, and then they sold out.  So we ordered another one hundred, and sure enough they sold out.  We took the idea to a Savannah, Georgia dentist’s office and they agreed to sell them.  Gateway sent the books directly their office.”

Violette has a lot of energy for the cause, holding fundraisers throughout the community including a Scrapbook Event and a Corvette Retreat.  “Over forty women gather in a local church to produce scrapbooks that showcase family memories.  The books are sold there with net proceeds to the SMA.  We also took books to our annual Corvette Retreat, which is an event that celebrates the fact that we manufacture Corvettes in this part of the country.  All the books we brought sold out.”

The Annie Girl fundraising cookbook contains over 300 recipes and a touching description of Annie’s story.  All profits from the sale of these books are directed to the Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (  For more on Annie’s story and to order cookbooks, go to

Lundazi Mission Aims For Africa!

Forty-eight thousand dollars is a lot of money, especially in an economy where fundraising has never been more challenging.  That’s why Sarah Boot and the Lundazi team chose Gateway fundraising cookbooks as part of their overall fundraising campaign.  Lundazi is a twelve-member team of volunteers planning a mission to Lundazi, Zambia, Africa to build two new science classrooms for disadvantaged youth.  The Lundazi team is part of a larger effort by the Edu-Deo Mission, a Canadian Christian mission organization, which serves children in developing countries with quality education rooted in Christian worldview.  According to Boot, “Someone in the group mentioned cookbooks when we were thinking about fundraising ideas.  My sister had worked with Gateway and she was happy, so we went ahead.”

V0465coiledFor the Lundazi team, Gateway’s book was a welcome addition to their overall approach to fundraising, which includes selling bracelets, holding garage sales, bake sales and breakfasts, and soliciting donations from local businesses.  “Everything went well when we produced the book.  I did a lot of emailing to have my questions answered.  They were always there.  They even helped me pick out a nice cover and binding coil.”

According to Rhonda Pineau, Gateway’s Fundraising Cookbook Sales and Marketing Manager, the Lundazi approach is common in today’s fundraising market.  “Most of our customers use the fundraising cookbook as a tool in their fundraising toolkit.  It’s an important part of an overall strategy.”

While fundraising is a necessary part of the process for non-profits to reach their goals, it’s really the cause that drives them.  “We’re there to assist actually,” explains Boot.  “The community already has people who can build.  We create a partnership with them.  We encourage them.  Get to know them, and we talk with them about the Gospel.”

When Boot spoke of the group’s goal to get to Africa by August 2012, there was really no doubt in her mind regarding how she was going to get there, and why she was doing it.

The “how” came from Edu-Deo, which orchestrates missions in countries around the world including Belize, The Dominican, Nicaragua, Ghana, and Zambia.  “I went on a mission with them back in high school to the Dominican Republic.  Local churches throughout the GTA know about them.  This time around I just went back to them.”

The “why” is also clear for this enthusiastic volunteer: “To build schools in other countries, that’s why we’re going there.  But we think in terms of a much greater purpose.  We really do it to serve God.”

To donate to the Lundazi team, go to the following link on the Edu-Deo Mission site:

For more on Edu-Deo Mission, visit

For more on Gateway Publishing, visit