The Charitable Heart

To Give is to Receive

By Karrie Osborn
[ABMP Member Profile]

When Darcy Neibaur graduated from massage school in 2007, not only was a massage therapist born, but so was a charitable spirit.

Neibaur is a philanthropist at heart, and she learned that fact as she began to practice massage in Pensacola, Florida. When people and organizations came to her with their various charitable needs, Neibaur was always willing to help.
At the peak of her charitable efforts, Neibaur donated her massage and fundraising time to the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, Bark for Life, the United Way, the local Council on Aging, and to local organ donation efforts. Alongside fellow therapists, Neibaur started visiting the Pensacola Veteran’s Center once a month, delivering free massage to veterans. And every October, she made herself available to the VA’s Stand Down event, where 600 homeless veterans had free access to countless services, including massage. “Talk about gratitude,” she says of the veterans she’s served. “We don’t realize how good we really have it.”
In 2011, Neibaur began donating her time at the World Massage Festival (WMF), offering foot massage to festival-goers, and raising money for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, and later the Ronald McDonald House. The past two years have allowed her charity work with the WMF to coincide with ABMP’s EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week, and this year, she raised more than $2,000 in cash, food, and toy donations.
Why does she do it? “When I give, I receive,” says Neibaur, founder of Sweet Serenity Massage for Charity. “I receive much more by giving.”
As an MT, Neibaur has worked in a massage clinic, a massage franchise, and has even had her own wellness center, but she’s recently decided to partner with the WMF on a more permanent basis and, with her husband, Dennis, made a move to North Carolina to take on her new role with the festival group. Still, she’ll be donating her massage time once again in 2016, both to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities at the August 7–10 WMF in New Jersey, and for organizations she’ll likely choose to support in her new locale.
This grandmother, who loves butterflies and inspirational stories, reminds new therapists that while charitable work will bring you exposure and new clients, it should never be approached with a what’s-in-it-for-me mentality. “To me, there’s more in the giving—that feeling of gratitude that we have helped someone who could not help themselves.”

Karrie Osborn is senior editor at ABMP.