Lois Crudden’s fundraising events for the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) run the gamut from 50/50 raffles to bake sales to spaghetti and meatball dinners. But the most unusual fundraising effort involved hiring a psychic to perform readings at a tavern.
Lois convinced the tavern owner to host the fundraiser by telling him she would buy appetizers for customers, and he would profit from drinks sold. At the end of the evening, so pleased with the event’s success, the tavern owner donated $300, and the psychic gave all of her profits to Lois for IDF.
“The places you do business with are the best places to give back to you,” said Lois.
At 68, Lois lives with common variable immune deficiency or CVID, but for decades she didn’t know the cause of her repeated respiratory and gastrointestinal infections that inevitably led to hospitalizations.
“I was just so sick of hearing doctors saying, ‘No, all your tests are fine.’ And then I’d say, ‘Then, why am I so sick?” and they’d say, ‘Oh, I can’t answer that,’” said Lois.
Lois finally received her diagnosis at age 50.
“When I was diagnosed, the doctor said I was very lucky. He said if I’d gone one more month, I wouldn’t be here,” she explained.
Lois began treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin at a hospital infusion center. While the IVIG helped, she still kept contracting infections from the hospital setting. Today, she gets her treatments at home.
“It’s helping very much. I haven’t been in the hospital with pneumonia for over a year,” said Lois.
Lois discovered IDF about seven years ago when she sought support from a Get Connected Group nearby her home in Warwick, Rhode Island. Meeting others with a primary immunodeficiency filled her with a sense of relief and belonging.
“I explained what I was going through and listened to what they were going through, and I said, ‘My God, I’m not alone!’” said Lois.
Appreciative of IDF, Lois participated in several Boston IDF Walks, raising money and volunteering to set up for Walks, with husband Peter by her side. She then organized her own Walks in Warwick. Just before the pandemic in 2019, Lois and the mom of a baby with severe combined immunodeficiency teamed up for a Warwick Walk that drew about 40 participants and raised upwards of $10,000.
Lois said she tries to raise between $2,000 and $5,000 annually for IDF.
In previous fundraisers, Lois has raffled a television and a BBQ smoker (both of which she and her husband donated), held yard sales, and sold clothes, shoes, toys, and household items to a resale store. She loves baking and makes cheesecake, pastries, cookies (with crowd-pleasers being Oreos covered in milk chocolate and white chocolate), and cakes to sell during her raffle events.
Lois also makes phone calls and writes letters asking for donations from friends and family and solicits donations of both money and items (such as drinks and snacks) from restaurants and grocery stores.
She advises those raising money for IDF to look to the very businesses they support regularly.
“Use your sources that are local that you go to every day,” said Lois.
In addition to her fundraising efforts for IDF, Lois is also a dedicated supporter of plasma centers and visits those in her home state of Rhode Island.
“I see the donors, and I say, ‘Thank you for the gift of life,’” said Lois. “I’m passionate about what I do.”