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The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is a nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research and providing comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
With national headquarters in Tucson, MDA has more than 200 offices across the country, sponsors some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics and supports more than 330 research projects around the world. Locally the South Puget Sound office serves those living in 12 counties from Tacoma all the way south to Centralia and the entire Olympic Peninsula.
MDA supports more research on neuromuscular diseases than any other private-sector organization in the world. MDA scientists are in the forefront of gene therapy research and have uncovered the genetic defects responsible for several forms of muscular dystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), childhood spinal muscular atrophy and several other neuromuscular conditions.
The Association's comprehensive services program includes diagnostic and follow-up medical consultations, flu shots, support groups, MDA summer camps for youngsters, a medical equipment program, assistance with equipment repairs and resource referral. Through its national advocacy program, MDA works to make life better for people with muscular dystrophy and related muscle diseases by providing representation in matters of public policy and research advancement, nationally and internationally; and facilitating active involvement in these areas by the people it serves.
MDA was created in 1950 by a group of adults with muscular dystrophy, parents of children with muscular dystrophy and a physician-scientist studying the disorder. Since its earliest days, it has been energized by its number-one volunteer and former national chairman, entertainer Jerry Lewis. Locally, we survive with the help of volunteers dedicating their time and efforts to programs such as our annual summer camp. This year we will have approximately 60 volunteers helping to make summer camp the best year yet.
- Shannon Bjork
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