Before making phone calls to collect money at the 2011 Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock Up, Amanda Stout gets her mugshot taken behind the bars. L&T file photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
When most think of going behind bars, visions of a cell full of convicts and being sentenced for a crime.
Next Wednesday, some community leaders will go behind bars, in a fun way, and their only crime is “having a big heart.”
The Ark Valley chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, based in Wichita, is hosting its annual lock-up, and Lacey Mills, the chapter’s director, said those raising money come from all over the Liberal community.
“We look for business professionals with a willingness to give back and reach out to folks,” she said. “Referrals and nominations are accepted as well.”
The MDA Lock Up is a community event that is a unique and fun way to help local children and adults who live with muscle disease.
By being an MDA jail bird, people will ask family, friends and business contacts to make donations to a “bail,” which are funds that will help MDA in its mission of curing muscular dystrophy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and related diseases by funding worldwide research, providing comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
In modern times, social networking sites such as Facebook have made the job of collecting money for participants’ “bail” a little easier, and Mills said this year’s crop of collectors have other means of gathering money.
Those means include, for the first time, an application for Android and iPhone uses to which everyone will have access. The participants can let people know what they are doing and support them.
By making donations through Web sites, the “jail birds” can post their successes to Facebook.
One of this year’s jail birds is First Southern Baptist Church Pastor Dr. Jack Jacob, and he has created just such a page and posted it to Facebook.
In his post on the page, Jacob took the fun of the lock up with good humor.
“Believe it or not, I’m going to jail, and I need your help,” he began. “While it’s not a real jail, it’s even more important as I’m raising bail to help children and adults with muscle disease in my community who are supported by the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.”
Jacob joked that he might not be able to rely on good behavior to get out, so “that’s why I need your help.”
“I need you to donate to my bail,” he said.
Jacob then asked those who visited his page to click the donation button to make a secure donation.
“I know that together, we’ll Make a Muscle and Make a Difference in the fight against muscle disease,” he said.
Mills said MDA is looking to raise around $15,000 with this year’s local lock up, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Mid-America Air Museum in Liberal.
The director added all of the money raised stays in the Ark Valley district. Much of it is used for MDA summer camps, one of which is taking place this week.
“There is a family in Liberal supported by us at camp,” she said.
The rest of the money goes toward repairs for durable medical equipment, wheel chairs, support groups and research.
Mills said everyone is encouraged to take part in the lock up.
“Anybody who wants to make a donation is welcome to come down and spend some time in jail with us,” she said.
Jacob, himself, has set a goal of $1,600 as bail, and as of Thursday, he had raised $30.
For more information about the lock up, call the Ark Valley office at 316-773-7962.