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NMOtion Blog

Discussing NMO Research and Advocacy

Providence, RI – Creator of Dining for NMO, Gabriela Romanow, guest blogs about her most recent event and how you can join the program.

Last night, Flatbread Company in Providence, Rhode Island, hosted their first Dining for NMO fundraising event.  A friend of mine, whose only connection to NMO is her relationship with me, organized this fundraiser.  Another friend touched by NMO joined us at the restaurant. Together, we helped raise funding for research as we sold raffle tickets, talked, laughed, ate, and shared information about NMO with patrons.

My friend commented, “How often can you eat great food while helping find a cure?”

Indeed. I created Dining for NMO as a way that the neuromyelitis optica community could easily participate in raising money to fund a cure.  I chose the restaurant world when celebrity chef Christine Ha, more commonly known as “The Blind Cook,” agreed to headline the event.  Christine, winner of MasterChef Season 3, is blind due to NMO.

Last year, Lineage Restaurant in Massachusetts, participated in the first annual Dining for NMO fundraising event in October.  We filled the restaurant that evening with friends and all had a terrific time, while learning about NMO.

The event was so successful that, when the restaurant owners decided to close Lineage permanently later this summer, they agreed to do a second Dining for NMO fundraiser in late June.  We had another great evening, and raised more money for NMO research through The Guthy-Jackson Foundation.

Last October, 24 restaurants across the world participated in Dining for NMO, raising over $18,000.

Our official “DFNMO” day this year is Monday, October 17, but this time, we are encouraging everyone to invite restaurants to host events on any date that works for them. We ask restaurants to donate a portion of proceeds from diners on the chosen day to The Guthy-Jackson Research Foundation, Inc. (Some restaurants, like Flatbread, have a contribution program already built in.)

The beauty of this idea is that, for the most part, all you have to do is invite your friends to dine out!  Their dinner is their contribution.

Ask a restaurant to participate.  Choose a date.  Invite your friends and family.  Help find a cure for NMO.

My son was diagnosed with NMO two years ago when he was 20 years old.  I felt helpless, but couldn’t just sit around feeling hopeless.  I realized that the best way to make a difference was to help raise money to find a cure.  First, my husband and I hosted a fundraiser to which we invited all of our friends.  But after that, we realized that we had to expand beyond our own network to keep supporting research.  That’s why I created Dining for NMO.

We ask everyone to join Dining for NMO.

Ask your local restaurants to join and help fund a cure.  Last year, restaurants from Massachusetts to Texas, to even Vietnam, participated.

This year, we aim to grow Dining for NMO, and you can help! Contact me at diningfornmo@gmail.com if you have any questions or if a restaurant is interested in participating this year.  I’m happy to walk you through all the steps. Don’t forget to share on social media! #DiningForNMO

Together, we can help find the cure.

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