The Landman Family

The Myositis Empower Walk Newsletter – Edition 2

Myositis Empower Walk Newsletter (MEWN) Edition Two. The Landman's speak with last year's Myositis Empower Walk top team fundraising captains about how team fundraising can be a fun and successful approach, raising a lot of money. And we learn tips for promoting fundraisers in ways that respect privacy. Read the full interviews and find specific ways you can fundraise, donate and spread the word. 1 min

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Myositis Empower Walk Newsletter

2nd Edition

Myositis Support and Understanding (MSU) wouldn’t be able to provide the support, guidance, resources, and such a valuable community for myositis patients and caregivers without the generosity of people like YOU. Nonprofit organizations heavily rely on donations to help strengthen their mission and plan for the future. Your belief in MSU’s mission is why they’ve been so successful over the last five years. That’s a beautiful thing and for that, we thank you.

In this edition of the Myositis Empower Walk Newsletter (MEWN), we’d like to spotlight two of our top fundraising teams from last year’s Myositis Empower Walk to emphasize the importance of giving. To recap and also to celebrate how amazing you all are, we raised nearly $18,000 for MSU by coming together either in-person or virtually last year! We’re still in disbelief of the amount raised and beyond grateful that together we made a huge difference. We have set the bar high for this year’s Myositis Empower Walk, but we’re up for the challenge!

We’d like to introduce you to Jean Koester, who was the team leader for the fundraising team ‘We Love Mary B!’ and came in first place raising over $3,500 for MSU. How amazing is that? Jean was motivated to give and led her team to victory to support her sister, Mary, who has a form of myositis. It became her mission to raise as much money as she could so her sister and others battling these rare illnesses continue to have the support they deserve.

Jean Koester

How did you encourage others to donate to your fundraising team, Team We Love Mary B? 

“I primarily used Facebook to let people know about the walk and to ask for donations. But I was very concerned about respecting my sister’s privacy, as she is a private person, she lives in a small town, and I was not certain how many people knew of her diagnosis.

We have a very large family, as Mary and I are 2 of 10 siblings and we have a good number of cousins on both sides of our family since our parents were both 1 of 8 kids in their families. Most of the extended family knew of her diagnosis.

So, I created a private Facebook group for family and close friends only and asked family for donations or to join the team and solicit donations themselves. Given the size of our family that was an easy effort. I also shared the Myositis Empower Walk on my open Facebook feed but did not reference my sister, only that this had impacted our family.  That was much less successful until my sister put it on her Facebook page.

I think in general people respond to the human aspect of any fundraising appeal. Everyone who donated to our team was personally connected to my sister and wanted to help. I think most of our family, and many of my sister’s friends want to help her, and this organization gives them a way to respond to that desire to help. I know many expressed their hope that better treatment and maybe a cure could be found. The Myositis Empower Walk gave them a way to contribute in a meaningful way to that goal.”

Did it make it more fun and competitive using a team fundraiser? If so, why?

“Having the team aspect created a bond for those of us who care about Mary and want to help. There was a collegial aspect to all of us working together and zooming our walk together. I think the general “thermometer” of having an ultimate goal of X amount of dollars to raise helped to keep the team challenged and energized to keep asking for donations. I shared an update every 3-4 days in the group to let them know how close we were to reaching the goal. That kept the positive energy going.”

What motivates you to give to MSU?

“My sister is my motivation to support MSU. Everyone in our family wants to support better diagnosis and treatment for anyone suffering from this illness.”

How does your giving influence others to give? 

“My giving influenced the company I work for to give a matching donation, which is a very important avenue for additional financial resources that I try to always remind people to check. My family was influenced to give once I set up the Facebook page and gave them the information.

In general, I think all people give more readily when the organization allows them to support a cause they believe in or a person they care about. In the case of MSU, it was definitely that everyone was responding to the personal connection to my sister.”

What stands out about MSU that made you decide to give instead of other organizations with similar missions? 

“MSU is very organized and professional, while also being personal and compassionate.  The focus of MSU is the community it serves and that is very important to me. It also has a strong advocacy mission to raise awareness and support research. Finding a treatment or cure is very important to our family, and most importantly MSU members support each other. My sister has said that many times they found resources, equipment ideas and treatment information from MSU first, as well as compassionate discussion of issues patients face. It has been a significant support for her and her husband.”

What would you tell someone who is interested in becoming a donor to MSU for the first time?

“Honestly I would appeal to their personal connection to me or my sister and ask them to do it for her, and others like her facing this diagnosis.

For the next walk I would love to be able to amplify some of the Myositis information and the MSU goals each time I send out a new personal appeal for donations.”

We were so touched to learn more about Jean’s motivation for giving and leading her fundraising team to success. It’s extremely empowering to know that together we can truly make a difference for those who need us most. We’d like to thank Jean for sharing her story and we’d like to send our love to Mary, one of our Myositis Warriors, a big hug from the Landman Family and the entire MSU community.

Next, we’d like to introduce to you, Nancy Thomson, the team leader for ‘Team Thomson’ who came in second place and raised $1,300 for MSU. Nancy was inspired to fundraise so MSU can continue to provide a supportive community for our friends and family living with myositis. She also happens to be our aunt, and we’d like to personally thank her for supporting our dream of making the Myositis Empower Walk a reality from the very beginning. We love you, Aunt Nance!

Nancy Thomson

How did you encourage others to donate to your fundraising team, Team Thomson?

“I posted the fundraiser on my Instagram page. I included a quick description of why MSU is important and how it has affected our family. We lost my brother-in-law, Bob, to Dermatomyositis. He was still quite young with a wife and children who loved and needed him. Personally, I lost my mom at 24 years old and seeing my nieces and nephew lose their father was just heart breaking. My sister was such a beautiful, loving caregiver. Sharing their story and encouraging my friends to give to this cause was quite easy!”

Did it make it more fun and competitive using a team fundraiser? If so, why?

“Yes, absolutely more fun. I am competitive by nature, so raising the most money for something so near to my heart was exciting!”

What motivates you to give to MSU?

“I would like to help others who are suffering the way my brother-in-law suffered. If there was more awareness of this disease, and if help was more readily available it would be life changing! Not only for the patient, but for the caregiver and family.”

How does your giving influence others to give?

“Hopefully, others will see the importance of supporting an organization like MSU. Any donation, no matter how small can make such a difference in the life of a person going through myositis.”

What stands out about MSU that made you decide to give instead of other organizations with similar missions?

“Of course being personally affected by myositis was my main reason to give to MSU. There are so many great organizations helping others, but knowing and seeing how it affected my family was what made my decision.”

What would you tell someone who is interested in becoming a donor to MSU for the first time?

“I would tell them that this organization is helping others. Not only financially but bringing awareness. I had never heard of myositis until it affected our family. If this fundraiser can help even just one person, it is a success and something I will be proud to sponsor for many years.  Those affected by myositis need to know they are not alone!”

It was a pleasure chatting with our aunt and learning more about her motivation for giving on a deeper level. Family is everything and we are very grateful to have such a supportive family standing by our side!

We’d like to thank both of these donors for sharing their experience on how and why they fundraised during the Myositis Empower Walk. We hope learning their stories has you proud to be a supporter of MSU and excited for the upcoming Myositis Empower Walk. It’s critical we all continue to advocate and fundraise for MSU, so they are able to provide more support to more people.

To get you excited about fundraising and this year’s Myositis Empower Walk, we’d like to highlight a few ways you can support. We also understand that starting a fundraising team will be new for some of you and that’s why we’re here to help! We’ve listed some tips and tricks below on how you can successfully fundraise for MSU. If you have any questions or even like to share new fundraising techniques you think would be helpful, please email us, the Landman’s, at We’d love nothing more than to connect with you.  And remember, you are not alone!

The Landman’s suggest ways you can give!

Donations to Myositis Support and Understanding (MSU) are tax-deducible in the U.S. MSU is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Donations are always used first to fund our Myositis Patient Financial Assistance program.

Create your own fundraising team.
  • Closer to the Myositis Empower Walk (date will be announced soon) we will have the option for you to set up your very own fundraising team! You heard it from our donors, who said it was a fun, engaging and powerful way to fundraise for MSU. Ready, set, fundraise!
  • When creating your own fundraising campaign, consider adding to your personal mission statement, so donors can understand why this cause is so important to you.
  • Share your fundraising team on your social media outlets to really amplify your fundraising. The more people that learn more about your motivation for supporting MSU, the more likely you’ll bring in money. The key to fundraising is to ask, ask, ask. So, share with friends and family the best way that fits your style and ask away!
Monthly Gifts
  • Monthly gifts allow a nonprofit organization to plan for the future and strengthen their mission. Making a monthly or quarterly gift of any amount makes a huge difference and if you are able, we highly encourage this way of giving. By simply giving $5, $10, $15, or more a month, you are making a lasting impact. That’s funding MSU can count on and in a world where paying for things monthly is normal, it’s an easy way to include donating in your budget. Click here to set up your monthly gift and know that you are making a lasting difference for our Myositis Warriors!
Annual Gifts
  • Make a gift once a year to truly show your support and belief in an organization’s mission. Annual gifts are extremely important to the financial health of a nonprofit no matter the size of the gift. Each donation is helpful in building a strong foundation for MSU to grow bigger and better, so they can help more people, in more ways. Click here to make your annual gift!
Matching Gifts
    • Did you know that a lot of employers will match your gift? That’s right, if you make a gift to a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, your gift may be eligible to be doubled. That means your donation could have double the impact! Next time you make a gift, check with your employer to see if they will match it. If you have any questions or need any information from MSU to make this happen, please reach out to:

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The Landman Family

We created the Myositis Empower Walk in loving memory of Robert "Bob" Landman, husband of Gladys and father of Lauren, Jenna, and Chad, who passed away six short months after his diagnosis of dermatomyositis (DM) in 2015, after being repeatedly misdiagnosed.




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