For many people‚ October in Minnesota signals the arrival of costume parties and peak fall colors. But for Vern Prososki and employees at St. Cloud-based Collection Resources‚ it marks the opportunity to bowl a few games and raise money for the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC).
The company has held an annual bowl-a-thon to benefit BAARC since 2001. For Prososki‚ co-owner (with Phaen Waldron) of Collection Resources‚ the decision to support BAARC was both professional and personal.
“Our trade association‚ the American Collectors Association‚ had developed a program for encouraging involvement in philanthropy‚” recalls Prososki. “We decided to do something‚ and this was the thing that hit us close to home.”
That’s because ataxia had already made its way into Prososki’s life. Nearly 30 years ago‚ Prososki’s wife‚ Ruth‚ was diagnosed with ataxia. After initially receiving treatment in St. Cloud‚ she learned of the University of Minnesota Ataxia Center’s reputation in ataxia management and soon started making the hour-long drive to receive care in Minneapolis.
Last year 16 of the company’s 25 employees participated in the bowl-a-thon‚ first generating funds by seeking pledges from friends‚ neighbors‚ and relatives‚ and then meeting their end of the bargain by playing two games. Family members also attended‚ and bumper bowling quickly became a hit among the event’s youngest attendees.
This year’s event‚ held October 4‚ drew 22 bowlers and raised another $2‚465 for ataxia research at the University. That brings the bowl-a-thon’s total raised to more than $22‚000 for BAARC since the its inception.
To Prososki‚ the most rewarding part of the event is witnessing the generosity that donors exhibit year after year.
“It’s really nice to see people who have made contributions annually‚” he says. “It takes a big commitment for them to step up to the plate like that‚ time and again‚ especially with the tough times that some people are going through these days. Our hope is that we can continue to step up‚ too‚ and hold this event for years to come.”