Massage businesses and schools throughout the U.S. are making plans now for a concerted fundraising effort in May for Massage Without Borders, an organization that raises and distributes funds to massage therapists affected by natural and personal disaster.

“We as massage therapists tend to end up more on the giving side of things than on the receiving end, just by nature, but now some of our colleagues are in a position where they need to receive,” said massage therapist KJ Burley, who is on Massage Without Borders’ board of directors.

Burley is going to donate a percentage of every massage session she performs during the week of May 20–25 to Massage Without Borders.

Any school or business may still sign up to participate in the May fundraising push. Massage-a-thons, silent auctions and off-the-top tithes are some of the ways funds will be raised. Schools from New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, New Mexico and 17 other states are already on board.

The organization that raises the most funds in May will receive a prize of an Oakworks Proluxe Convertible Lift Kit, a lifetime subscription from Bodywork Buddy software, $200 in product from Bon Vital’ and up to 25 subscriptions to Better Posture School online student resource. Second place winners will receive $100 in product from Bon Vital’ and a complete set of Mother Earth Pillows.

The staff of the School of Holistic Massage and Reflexology in Downer’s Grove, Illinois, is going to offer seated massage for donations and tithe most of the income from its clinic for the month of May to Massage Without Borders, said the school’s owner, Mike McAleese.

The massage therapist assisted most recently by Massage Without Borders is Julie Bunnell, who was diagnosed with a mass on her brain and underwent two surgeries earlier this month. Massage Without Borders’ founder and president Gloria Coppola created a GoFundMe page and is also accepting donations via U.S. mail to meet a $50,000 goal. As of press time, $7,800 had been raised. Prior to that, Monique DeLozier Frost received $3,000 from Massage Without Borders to help reopen her day spa in Ocean City, New Jersey, which was wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.

Coppola encourages schools and business to see the bigger picture, one in which the vast majority of massage therapists have no health coverage or much savings, and to do whatever they can to pitch in.

“Maybe they don’t want to give up a percentage of their clinic, but maybe they can do a little fundraising event,” she said. “If we got all 1,000 schools [in the U.S.] to raise just $100 apiece, think of how much that would fund scholarships and other needs.”

After the May fundraising is complete, $3,500 will go to a student scholarship fund; a small portion will go to administrative costs; and additional funds will go into an account that can be drawn upon when Massage Without Borders is called on to help a massage therapist in need, Coppola said.

In March, organizers of the World Massage Festival named Massage Without Borders as the recipient of the 2013 Aunty Margaret Humanitarian Award.

To sign up to participate or for more information, visit www.massagewithoutborders.org or send an email to info@massagewithoutborders.org.

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