More on the background of the Oshkosh MDA Bowl-A-Thon
The Oshkosh MDA Bowl-A-Thon was started in 2008 and has raised a combined $95,000 for the area Muscular Dystrophy Association. This 100% volunteer run event takes place in April/May of every year and has become the largest Bowl-A-Thon for MDA in the state of Wisconsin!
How it all began:
Eric Salzwedel graduated in 2006 from Columbus High School. His senior year, he saw a poster up about volunteering at MDA Camp. Intrigued about volunteering and giving back he decided to go volunteer for the week long camp. Unaware of what Muscular Dystrophy was or dealing with anyone in a wheelchair before, he still decided to give it a shot. Walking off the stage after getting his high school diploma he jumped in his parents van to go to camp.
MDA Summer Camp is truly a week where the word “Disability” is replaced with “Ability” and Eric was paired up with a camper his first year whose name was also Erik. That week changed his life for the better and it opened his eyes to those living with “disabilities” and changed his perspective on many things in life that people typically take for granted.
Eric returned and volunteered again in 2007 and once again had one of the best weeks of his life, with the most amazing kids he had ever met.
In 2008, Eric unfortunately could not attend camp due to work, so he decided to do something more to help kids with Muscular Dystrophy. Eric attended UW-Oshkosh and his sophomore year decided to start a Bowl-A-Thon. Eric was on the Bowling Club and was a bowler his whole life, so he thought it would fit well. Eric was not really sure how to put one on, but he was determined to search up some ideas and put one together. “That first year I got many of my friends to attend and charged them a certain amount and we raised $930”, says Eric. He continues saying, “I was determined to grow this event as I attended college, and we did exactly that!”
After 5 years of putting on this event himself and moving to Janesville for work, Eric knew he had to bring on some extra help. He brought on his friend Dan Kalupa who was from the Oshkosh area and helped double the previous years total from $6,000 to $12,000! The 7th Annual event he brought on his friend Bob Mueller who helped bring that total from $12,000 to $22,000! Last year, Eric knew more people wanted to get involved in the planning process and formed a planning committee who helped raise $21,000 for the 8th Annual Oshkosh MDA Bowl-A-Thon.
Eric currently resides in Madison, but is determined to grow this event each and every year in Oshkosh to help “Strike Out Muscular Dystrophy”! “Every year we are looking for more participants, lane sponsors, and volunteers! Not to mention we are always looking to grow our planning committee each year as we continue to make this the best event in the State! It is because of the amazing participants, volunteers, sponsors, and donors, that help make this the largest MDA Bowl-A-Thon in the state of Wisconsin”, says Eric.