Two contests, one that you may have heard of and one that you may not, are active right now with CFS related organizations in the running for cash.
The Chase Community Giving contest on Facebook features two CFS organizations competing for $10,00 or more. Facebook members and Chase customers vote for their favorite charity, and prizes are awarded to organizations receiving the most votes. The contest closes on September 19th, and both Phoenix Rising and the Neuro-Immune Disease Alliance are currently (as of 11am Eastern) at 69 and 148, making them eligible for $10,000 and $20,000 respectively.
The Collaborate|Activate Innovation Challenge is new to me. Sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, this contest is looking for proposals teaming two or more non-profit or professional medical advocacy groups “to foster innovation and collaboration to develop solutions that enable people to become more engaged in their health.” The CFIDS Association partnered with a number of organizations to submit two proposals:
- First, the Association partnered with the National Vulvodynia Association and the TMJ Association to submit a proposal for “Partnering to End Pain,” a web-based system that would connect chronic pain patients with clinical trials across multiple diseases. This is especially relevant for the many CFS patients like me who have also been diagnosed with other overlapping chronic pain conditions.
- In the second proposal, The CFIDS Association partnered with Genetic Alliance (which hosts the Association’s SolveCFS BioBank), the National Psoriasis Foundation and the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation to submit a proposal for “Registries for All Diseases,” a registry using patient-generated information regarding rare diseases to accelerate clinical trials.
Today, it was announced that BOTH proposals were selected to be in the top four proposals out of hundreds received. Along with their partners, the Association will share $25,000 and guidance from a professional mentor to refine each proposal. Then on October 29th, the four groups will present their proposals to an impressive panel of judges, and the winner of $300,000 will be announced on November 15th. The Association is the ONLY nonprofit organization to be represented twice in the top four proposals!
All three of these CFS organizations are raising the profile of our fight against this disease. I’m especially excited about the CFIDS Association’s success because of the panel of judges and sponsorship by a pharmaceutical company. While Chase Giving is, by design, a popularity contest (that has been plagued by problems in the past), the Collaborate|Activate Innovation Challenge is a merit competition. Even if the Association does not place first or second in the final competition, it will benefit from the process of refining their proposals and working with mentors, as well as the exposure to pharmaceutical companies and health organizations. This is a huge and exciting step forward! Through their success in this first round of the competition, the CFIDS Association has helped legitimize the illness for a large new audience. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this competition.
Congratulations to NIDA, Phoenix Rising, and the CFIDS Association for competing in these contests to benefit all patients!