Expect calls for bail in annual muscular dystrophy fundraiser

August 24, 2010

By David Hayes

Don’t be surprised Aug. 25 if you receive an unexpected phone call from someone you know asking for bail money.

It’s likely your acquaintance is one of more than 75 of the area’s “most wanted” business executives and community leaders swept up in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual fundraiser.

For example, one of the first time “jailbirds” calling just may be Jim Oswalt, owner of Gemini Fish Market in Issaquah.

“This sounded like a good cause,” he said. “We have a pretty good clientele list we can get in front of to donate.”

By donate, Oswalt means his bail, set for all jailbird participants at a minimum of $2,000. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Aug. 25, “law enforcement officers” from local fire stations will arrive at places of work to apprehend the jailbirds. Firefighters have been one of the biggest contributors to MDA fundraisers for more than 50 years, according to Shelli Kind, executive director of the Bellevue MDA office.Jailbirds are then brought to lockup, in this case Pogacha restaurant, where their mug shot is taken and they are given their phone. Only in this case, they’re given all the calls they need to reach their bail goal.

Kind said participants are usually given about an hour to finish their fundraising efforts.

“But I’m willing to release them for good behavior,” she added.

Craig and Laura Baker, owners of Bake’s Place in Providence Point, are also first-time participants. For Craig Baker, participating was a more personal choice.

“I’ve had two friends personally affected by MD,” Craig Baker said. “This is a great way to be a part of an effort to find a cure. Plus, I think it’s a pretty cool idea to actually have business owners mingle with other business owners. Any way they can figure out a way to raise money for a cause, that’s important.”

Depending upon when they’re arrested, the Bakers will be especially under the gun to get their donations — they have a show that evening to prepare.

Kind said they hope to raise $40,000 from the Issaquah event, one of nine planned for the greater Eastside. All proceeds will help support MDA services and research programs, including transportation services, support groups and local clinics.

Kind said if you don’t receive a call pleading for bail money, you can still be involved in the fundraiser — just stop by the jail house (Pogacha) the day of the event with your contribution or mail a check to the Bellevue MDA office: 110 110th Ave. N.E. Bellevue, WA 98004-5840.

David Hayes: dhayes@isspress.com, 392-6434, ext. 237. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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