Muscle Walk 2011: Registration is open for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual fundraiser

Monday, March 7, 2011
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It costs $74 per minute of research for muscular dystrophy, a severely disabling condition with no prevention and no cure, and affecting people of all ages. On March 19, the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Cape Girardeau will host its annual Heartland Muscle Walk to raise funds and awareness about the 40-plus types of muscular dystrophy.

"One thing all types of MD have in common is the muscle disease itself. It's a muscle weakening or destroying disease, depending on the severity of disease," says Kyla Evans, fundraising coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Cape Girardeau. "We ask for everyone's support in any fashion they can do. Kids and adults and everyone who has MD needs as much help as we can provide them."

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at West Park Mall in Cape Girardeau, followed by an opening ceremony to kick off the event at 10 a.m. Participants will walk the mall, check out the silent auction and visit information booths sponsored by local businesses, including the MDA.

Evans describes the Muscle Walk as an outstanding show of support for families registered with the MDA, as well as any others affected by or interested in the disease.

Cape Girardeau's MDA office covers 38 counties in Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky. In addition to research, the annual Muscle Walk raises funds for patient visits to MDA-approved clinics; physical, occupational and respiratory therapy consults; repairs and adjustments for wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment; support groups; and a summer camp in St. Louis for children with MD.

According to Evans, the Cape Girardeau MDA office serves more than 400 families, but there are many more people affected by MD who aren't registered with the association. Thus, another major goal of the Muscle Walk is to raise awareness about MD and the services available to those who have the disease.

"Anyone who has been diagnosed with MD by a doctor can call member services," says Evans. "We don't care if you have a dollar to your name or if you have a million dollars to your name. Everybody is eligible for our services."

Another surprising fact, says Evans, is that 70 percent of patients registered with the MDA are age 35 or older -- not children, who are most commonly associated with MD.

"People are getting diagnosed older and older," says Evans. She believes this is because doctors and scientists are learning more about the disease every day and diagnosing it correctly.

Walkers can register individually, form a team or join the Heartland Hope Team organized by the Cape Girardeau MDA office. To register for this year's Muscle Walk or to sponsor a booth, visit www.mda.org/musclewalk, call the Cape Girardeau office at 335-4400 or e-mail Evans at kevans@mdausa.org.

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