I’m pleased to announce the first annual Dining for NMO Day taking place Monday, October 19, 2015!
What is Dining for NMO?
Dining for NMO is a cause spearheaded by Gabriela Romanow, whose 21-year-old son was diagnosed with Neuromyelitis Optica/NMO last year, and is backed by the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation and myself. For one day only, on October 19th, we are asking restaurants to support our cause by giving a monetary donation to the Guthy Jackson Foundation, and for everyone in the extended NMO community—patients and their friends and families—to dine on that very day at one or more of the participating restaurants.
All the proceeds from Dining for NMO will be donated to the Guthy Jackson Foundation, where 100% of it will go to scientific and clinical research to help find a cure for NMO.
How did Dining for NMO start?
Ever since Gabriela’s son, Max, was diagnosed with NMO in 2014, she has made it her personal mission to help find a cure. She contacted me several months ago and asked if I would be willing to help raise awareness and funds for the GJCF. I’ve long been involved with the GJCF, even before I was on MasterChef, as I’ve attended several of their Patient Days (that was where I met Erin and Jenna, and when NMO Diaries was born). I’ve spoken at one of the Patient Days and have helped raise awareness for NMO together with Victoria Jackson; her husband Bill Guthy; and their daughter, Ali, who also suffers from NMO. During the summer my season of MasterChef was being broadcasted across the U.S., my husband, john, and I ran a grassroots fundraising campaign selling #teamchristine tee shirts, and we donated all the monies to the GJCF.
Because I’ve been a longtime friend to the GJCF, and because I’ve been put in a position, thanks to MasterChef, where I can effectively advocate for causes like NMO, I accepted Gabriela’s invitation to join the Dining for NMO advocacy team.
It wasn’t until after I got involved that the Dining for NMO theme and campaign came into fruition. Dining for NMO combines two things about which I feel passionately: bettering the world in which we live and, of course, eating! Since NMO is what caused my permanent vision loss, I have an especially personal tie to this cause.
Our first ever Dining for NMO Day is a huge undertaking, but if I’ve learned anything from my experience on MasterChef, you need to give it your all, no matter what the obstacles. And that goes for all of us living with NMO.
How do you get involved?
The success of our first annual Dining for NMO Day depends on YOU. Please support the cause and help us find a cure. Please ask a restaurant to participate. If you, your sister, your boss, your best friend, or your aunt’s friend’s father owns a restaurant, ask them to support by making a contribution to the GJCF on Monday, October 19th. In exchange, offer to fill that restaurant with diners on that day. In doing so, everyone wins!
To learn more about how you can get involved, visit the Dining for NMO website and share with everyone you know. Every little bit counts.
On behalf of the GJCF, Gabriela, and Max, we thank you. xoxo