Doing your part

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on May 25, 2016 # Team LeGrand

With the 6th Annual A Walk to Believe coming up on Sunday June 5th, we like to highlight our highest fundraiser from the previous year. Ron Gold single handedly raised over $6,000 last year. We had the opportunity to learn more about Ron, his fundraising tips, and what brought him to Team LeGrand.

1. Can you give some information about your background?

I grew up in West Orange, N.J., and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with dual degrees, one in Finance from Wharton, and the other in Asian Studies. I combined those disciplines on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and then at Barclays Bank, where I was a Managing Director running the Asian Equities Desk.

After my 2011 accident, when an out-of-control SUV with a sleeping driver hit me head on at the end of a 50-mile bicycle ride, I decided to change direction and address a problem that my wife and I had experienced firsthand following my discharge from rehab.

We became frustrated with the lack of good home care options available to us, and as a paraplegic who was going to need home care for the rest of my life, this was going to be an ongoing issue for us. Private insurance and Medicare cover very limited home care services, so seniors, people who are disabled, and others in need of home help are compelled to pay out of pocket -- either through an agency or on their own. We didn’t like either choice because the agencies were expensive and restrictive, and finding someone on our own was daunting and seemed as if whoever we found would be the luck of the draw. We decided we could design a more thoughtful, trusted home care company and that’s how LeanOnWe came to be. At LeanOnWe, we help families find hand-picked, highly recommended caregivers to hire privately and directly -- and less expensively. We do all the legwork and also assist with emergency back-up and replacement caregivers.

2. How did you first learn about Eric and A Walk to Believe?

I first met Eric about 4 years ago at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J., where we both were doing outpatient physical therapy for our spinal cord injuries. Coincidentally, we were also both initially treated for our trauma at Hackensack University Medical Center, but a year apart. I was instantly impressed by Eric’s positive disposition, and how his can-do attitude can be a catalyst for greater awareness and research to support those living with paralysis.

3. What convinced you to participate in A Walk to Believe?

I decided to participate in A Walk to Believe because I knew it was time for me to do my part in raising awareness of the challenges faced by people -- young and old -- with spinal cord injuries. At the same time, the promising headway being made by researchers meant that all donations -- no matter the amount -- would make a real difference. This is important to remember.

4. What is the hardest part about peer-to-peer fundraising? What is the easiest part?

The hardest part of peer-to-peer fundraising is actually going out there and asking for support. I know that it is always difficult to ask people to spend money. But in this case, we are supporting an invaluable and worthy cause. Additionally, my friends know how important it is to me and that new discoveries will improve the quality of life for me and those who share my condition. So many of my friends have been looking for ways to help me and this is certainly an answer. Even if you are raising money for A Walk to Believe and you don’t have an injury yourself, tell your story and people will respond. Don’t worry about people who say no. It’s discouraging, of course, but keep going.

It’s important to ask potential donors more than once if they can help and it’s critical to ask them in different ways. For example, tell the world by posting your ask on Facebook and be sure to post continuously, especially in the week or two leading up to A Walk to Believe. Be sure to tell your story, why you are raising this money, why you got involved in this cause, and what the hope is for the future. Tell people what their donation will be used for.

Always remember that it’s OK if someone cannot help at this time. The important thing is that you asked. If you don’t ask, you can’t be successful. And the “ask” doesn’t end after the event. I found that a good percentage of my donations came after the walk, so keep working for what you believe in.

5. Any words of wisdom to pass on for those who are still considering being a participant in A Walk to Believe?

Participating is a great thing to do and it is a lot of fun. Plus, for most people, it’s not difficult. This is NOT a marathon or a triathlon, and it’s certainly not the X-Games! The incredible number of participants is inspiring and uplifting -- and there’s a lot of energy at the event. You’ll feel it when you join us. I found it to be very rewarding to go out there and make a difference. I’ll see you on June 5th.

Register for A Walk to Believe

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.