Having a child with Prader-Willi Syndrome can push you to do many things you never imagined yourself doing. Many have started eating healthier, exercising more, counting calories, cutting out foods that used to be a part of our daily diet. Many have become quite knowledgeable in certain medical issues, medications, insurance policies. Many become experts in physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy. Some have become AMAZING fundraisers. Jeannine Kowal wasn’t always an avid fundraiser. When her daughter, Caitlin, was born 3 years ago she made it her mission to raise as much funding as needed to find a cure for Prader-Willi Syndrome and co-founded the Prader-Willi Angels as her vehicle to do so. The past two years the Prader-Willi Angels gala has raised over $100,000 to support two exciting research opportunities. But she doesn’t plan to stop there. She is already planning her third Gala for September 2014. Jeannine humbly attributes much of her fundraising success to the knowledgeable and experienced people of Los Angeles that have been able to guide her along the way. When asked what message she would like to give potential fundraisers (those who are too overwhelmed by fundraising), she said this, “Fundraising can be very stressful but the positive aspect of fundraising is that it is a learning process and it gets easier every year. I would suggest that with any fundraising endeavor, you get help. Dividing the labor and the responsibility will not only alleviate stress it will take some of the pressure of performance off.” Jeannine is passionate about fundraising for research! In addition to finding mentors in her community to teach her best fundraising practices, she has enrolled in several courses on non-profit management and communication through the UCLA extension. Her aim is to learn more about effective fundraising and non-profit development. Jeannine was recently invited to be a member of the FPWR’s Board of Directors. Despite knowing her workload is about to dramatically increase, she is thrilled to join the board and looks forward to helping the organization grow. FPWR’s interim Executive Director, Susan Hedstrom says, “Jeannine is an invaluable resource to our organization. She has initiative, determination and passion: qualities which will ultimately drive her to success. We are lucky to have her part of our organization.”

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