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Filled boots help MDA offer hope

In 1950, several adults suffering from neuromuscular diseases partnered up with parents of children also suffering from neuromuscular diseases to create the Muscular Dystrophy Association. For more than 60 years the Muscular Dystrophy Association, commonly known as MDA, has been providing research and support to millions of Americans.

The association has been recognized by the American Medical Association “for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity.” The MDA offers services and care to patients and family that would otherwise not be available.

With an umbrella of more than 40 neuromuscular diseases, the MDA offers services to more than 1.5 million Americans through one of its 120 offices throughout America and Puerto Rico. MDA raises funds to support research and development to combat the growing number of neuromuscular diseases.

Of all the programs and services offered through the MDA it is important to note that they are funded almost entirely through volunteered contributions of concerned citizens, private companies and cooperating organizations.

What is muscular dystrophy? It is a neuromuscular disease in which the patient slowly looses his or her ability to use muscles. Patients first notice cramping in their feet and legs with an increase in pain. Slowly the muscles become rigid and hard, and begin to loose shape and definition, also known as muscle atrophy.

Most types of muscular dystrophy are multisystem, meaning that slowly but surely the disease will shut down the patient’s gastrointestinal system, lungs, eyes, brain and heart. In short, the patient’s body slowly shuts down with the brain and cognitive recognition going last.

The MDA offers life-changing services to patients of all age suffering from muscular dystrophy. MDA-funded scientist are on the cutting edge of research at facilities around the world. They are researching and developing potential treatments, cell-based therapies and potential tests to diagnose and treat early signs of muscular dystrophy.

The clinics, found nationwide, offer a system of professionals eagerly devoted to the patient and their individual cause. They offer resources and information that would otherwise not be available to patients. They offer a wide variety of personal patient care, patient advocacy and assistance with medical services. After a patient is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy he or she is often scared, lost and in the dark. The MDA sheds light onto the situation, offering a hand up and help to those most desperately in need.

The Boulder City Fire Department will again be participating in Fill the Boot, a fundraiser held by thousands of fire departments nationwide to raise support, awareness and money for the MDA. Boulder City Fire Department’s goal is to raise more than $500 during the two days it will be participating.

Firefighters will be out in the public looking for your donations. They will have a booth set up this weekend, Friday and Saturday, at the Best Dam Barbecue festival at Bicentennial and Wilbur Square parks. The firefighters at Boulder City Fire Department hope you will join efforts in raising social awareness and encourages you to donate to the cause. Come meet your local firefighters and help “Fill the Boot!”

For more information regarding muscular dystrophy or any of the 40-plus diseases that the MDA helps support, please contact me at the firehouse at 702-293-9228 or log onto www.mda.org. If you would like to make a donation to contribute and are unable to make it to the Fill the Boot event this weekend, you can contact Cody Racine at the firehouse to make arrangements, 702-293-3515.

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