Lend a Helping Hand

Lend a Helping Hand

Helping hands — that’s what we as massage therapist provide, right? We show up and take care of people in times of need.  We work on everyday people, athletes, the elderly, children, cancer patients, even pets. We are a group of compassionate individuals, often putting other’s needs in front of ours. Who helps us when we need the help?

Now there is an organization to lend a helping hand to the massage therapist.

Massage Without Borders (MWB) was inspired by a call from an angel, Gloria Coppola’s former student, Angel Cardone. Coppola, a former massage schoolowner, answered a request to help a colleague after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Without delay and with only good intention Coppola reached out to her colleagues to see if anyone could provide a massage table for a massage therapist who had lost hers in the hurricane. Within 72 hours there was an enormous response from massage vendors and 20 tables were donated to massage therapists affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Coppola was overwhelmed by the generous donations and thought there must be other massage therapists (MTs) like her former student needing help as well. She quickly utilized the power of social media, posting on Facebook the need for help and support for those MTs affected by Sandy. The movement to help went viral and in came more donations of equipment and gift cards along with prayers and well wishes.

The first unofficial meeting of Massage Without Borders was held in November 2012 as Coppola and 14 other massage therapists met and distributed goods to MTs in New Jersey. This group saw a need for an organization to be in place to help massage therapists. Gloria spearheaded the movement and accepted the role of Executive Director, utilizing her years in the industry and massage community. To help build the organization. Massage Without Borders was born; a group led by massage therapists, to help massage therapists.  MWB received their 501c3 status from the IRS as a charitable non-profit in April 2013.

Massage Without Borders has a mission;  to help their colleagues in times of extreme and severe crisis or natural disaster. They are building funds with your support, help, and outreach. Their prayer is that a benefactor or grant funding will be provided to sustain this mission for the future MT’s. Their dream is to have an emergency medical fund available for those without insurance that suffer extreme financial medical crisis during emergencies.

Former CEO of ERMI, Emergency Response Massage International, Doug Rasmusson a volunteer with MWB,stated, “This is the piece that has been missing in his 20 years of serving as an emergency responder. Who helps the responder?” Rasmusson, who resides part-time in the US and part-time in France has supported MWB and their mission from the beginning.  Rasmusson has also participated in a fundraising event in London with proceeds going to MWB’s Adopt campaigns.

MWB does not currently deploy massage therapists, although our hope is to one day go across borders to help our colleagues.  Many reasons exist as to why MWB does not currently deploy massage therapists to sites of disaster. There are many legalities in regards to state regulations, licensing and practice acts that forbid outreach massage.  Massage therapists must be properly trained before heading to disaster sites.  MWB does reach out and connect with local AMTA chapters and other organizations that might be able to help in this situation.

MWB focuses on compassion, cooperation and community. MWB would love to see the massage community come together and support each other. The mission of MWB is to help the ones (massage therapists) who help everyone else. When we have cooperation as a community with compassion at our core, the possibilities to help those in need will be endless.

Cooperation

The massage community of vendors and educators has shown support and cooperation in their support of MWB’s  mission of helping massage therapists.  To date MWB has taken table donations from Oakworks, Earth Lite, 3B American Scientific, Master Massage, Custom Craftworks and distributed to over a dozen colleagues in New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy. MWB also raised an additional $3,000 to help a day spa which employed six massage therapists restore their losses.

Massage Magazine has been a supporter and donated gift cards for Hurricane Sandy victims. They also donated three Massage Magazine Insurance Plus insurance policiesto MWB’s two eBay auctions. Massage Magazine continues to share updates through their online magazine.

ABMP is the sponsor of our t-shirt, along with many co sponsors. Les Sweeney joined us live at our telethon on the MassageNerd Tv show too! With your donation you can receive a t-shirt to proudly wear in your practice.

Bon Vital has helped support MWB through their support of our National Event and Adopt-A-Student campaign.  Bon Vital provided the printing for the postersfor MWB’s first National Event. Massage therapists and massage therapy schools across the United States participated to raise money for scholarships and sustainability.  Two scholarships will be offered to qualified and eligible candidates currently enrolled in massage school. Massage Book also donated to help support the scholarship funds.

Many schools and private individuals/businesses participated in our National Event including the Central Florida School of Massage, Virginia College, Anthem College, The Health Enrichment Center, BodyCare Healing Arts, School of Holistic Massage and Reflexology, Carteret Community College, and the International Spa Institute. The school that brought in the most donations, from Chadds Ford, PA was the Institute for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, owned by Deborah Finley. Approximately $5,000 was raised to help our mission.

A grand prize package and second place prize package was awarded to those that raised the most in the National Event. The grand prize included an Oakworks convertible lift table, purchased by MWB at cost. BodyWork Online Scheduling Software donated two lifetime subscriptions to both winners. Bon Vital donated product, Better Posture School donated access to their online program and Karen Kowal donated her Mother Earth Pillossage system.

eBay Auctions

Educators across the country, including Erik Dalton, Nina Howard, Karen Kowal, Linda Beach, Ivy Jo Staton, Boris Prilutsky, Gloria Coppola,  Sharon Puszko, Anita Shannon, Whitney Lowe, Vicky Karr, Felicia Brown, Irene Diamond, Jane Irving, Michael Buck, Barbara Heard and so many others have donated books, DVD’s and trainings to help raise funds through an educational eBay auction.

The Massage Nerd aka Ryan Hoyme has also helped spread the word. A live tele-broadcast on the MassageNerd show hosted two events. A concert in January 2013 from ourcolleagues included David Lauerstein, Doug Rasmusson, Sounds of the Planet, Marina Raye, Karen Drucker and many others. In June 2013 many of the educators also went live on his show to talk about the trainings they donated and why they got involved with MWB and support their mission.

Spreading the Word

AMTA chapters have released articles in their newsletter to tell their members who MWB is and what their mission is. MWB is blessed to have so many open-hearted, caring individuals that want this organization to grow.

NCBTMB is sharing and supporting by printing this article to help spread the word to massage therapists!

Awards

MWB is also the recipient of the 2013 Aunty Margaret Humanitarian Award presented by The World Massage Festival and Mike Hinkle.

Compassion

Many massage therapists are self-employed and without health insurance. MWB has been able to provide medical assistance to those in medical emergencies. MWB helped raise approximately $8,000 to help a colleague who needed assistance with medical care when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and required emergency surgery. Through social media outlets donations, prayers and well wishes were sent from all over the country. Currently MWB is raising funds for another colleague who suffered severe burns; a single mother who will be out of work for months.

Oklahoma Tornado

Fortunately, no tragedies were reported where our MT colleagues needed help. However we extended an outreach for prayers and support for everyone in Oklahoma.

Community

In a time when community is so important and getting back to the basics is important we must come together to care for and help each other. Massage Without Borders is bringing together the healing community for this great cause.

Currently, there are over 140 virtual volunteers that spread the word, share press releases, participate in fundraisers and help in sharing our mission to colleagues at conventions. Volunteers, such as blog writer Mallory Sly also quite literally spread the word about MWB in MWB’s monthly blog posts.

Who are we?

The Executive Director, Gloria Coppola and the board members all volunteer to serve this organization. The Board of Directors is comprised of current President William Fee, Tammy Parrish, 2nd Vice President, Kate Hudak, Secretary and Naomi Baker serves as Treasurer. The 1st Vice President position will be filled soon.

You can lend a helping hand too. Spread the word, help raise funds, participate in any capacity and help us find grants and a benefactor.

One never knows when they will need help. This is a ‘grassroots’ organization formed by caring massage therapists, helping massage therapists.

A BIG thank you goes out to everyone mentioned and those who support behind the scenes, especially our volunteers who allowed this organization to grow!

Visit www.MassageWithoutBorders.org for more information and to volunteer.

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