CHRISTMAS LIGHTS FOR MS
Ben Walker and James Crowther are no strangers to attracting attention. The pair have been building Christmas light displays at their family homes for the past ten years. Not too bad considering both are just nineteen! But this story really began some time ago when Ben’s grandmother Lynn was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Ben and James reflect on how their fundraising started saying,
“Once we realised that we had created a following and people started to bring their families out for a visit, we decided we had a great platform that we could use to raise funds for a worthy cause. We had a conversation and decided to fundraise for MS.”
The pair decided to turn their escapades into annual fundraiser and Christmas Lights for MS was born. In 2018 they grew the event to incorporate its own Facebook page with regular updates on how the displays were progressing and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses.
It’s no surprise why word of their displays spread across Canberra, James’ collection, which includes over 160 solar panels, is believed to be Canberra’s largest solar powered Christmas display. The pair were invited to share their story through an ABC radio interview and even got national coverage from a Nine news segment in 2018. The staggering light displays have garnered a lot of attention, but the highLIGHT for Ben and James was about making a difference in the community,
“We meet many people who are affected by MS and it really makes us feel good that we are helping people with multiple sclerosis..”
With help from family, friends and the community Ben and James have raised over $14,500 for MS. It’s an incredible achievement and a real testament to the months of preparation Ben and James put into their displays each year. The pair have been continuously looking for opportunities to grow their fundraiser and this year have started to encourage others in the Canberra community to join their team. 2021 will see a third house join in on the Christmas Lights For MS fundraising fun, Lights on Eaglemont.
Ben and James have a simple approach to fundraising despite their complicated light displays. Both say,
“Just do it. Once you register to fundraise for MS, the community really helps out and it’s a lot of fun. You get a sense of accomplishment and pride when you know you are making a difference.”
The Christmas lights are scheduled to turn on at all three homes on the 1st of December and will continue at night until Christmas Day.
Find something that you are talented at and use those skills to start an event to raise funds.
Start your own Facebook page for the event, use this to raise awareness!