Forward Spring 2014

Fighting the good fight: Celebrating IAFF and all who help us battle muscle disease

by Steven M. Derks on April 1, 2014 - 9:01am

Quest Spring 2014

As I meet and work with more and more people in the MDA community — families, staff, volunteers, donors and national partners — I’m amazed at the tenacity that drives our lifesaving mission. We are an army mobilized in the fight against muscle disease. 

Steven M. Derks

In 2014, we are proud to commemorate the 60th anniversary of MDA’s partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). Since 1954, our heroes — 300,000 of our nation’s fire fighters — have stood side by side with us fighting to save and improve lives. In addition to their participation in activities at camps and other events throughout the year, IAFF’s cumulative fundraising efforts have contributed nearly $530 million to supporting lifesaving research, and to providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide. Our cover story on page 16 is dedicated to our fire fighter friends. So please, when you see a fire fighter at a busy intersection holding up a boot for MDA, thank him or her for their lifesaving and life-enhancing support. And, of course, give what you can. 

The fire fighters and our army of supporters continue to transform the neuromuscular disease, including ALS, landscape. Since the 1980s, both life expectancy and quality of life have improved for children and adults with muscle disease. And more new drugs are expected in the next five years than in the previous five decades.

MDA’s Clinical Conference, held March 16–19 in Chicago, served as a big stage to affirm and catalyze this progress. The biennial gathering, which brought together more than 400 physicians and health care professionals, gives our dedicated clinical community a place to share critical updates on the diagnosis and medical, rehabilitative and psychosocial management and care of those with neuromuscular diseases.

MDA’s mission strategies to promote research, health care and clinic services, summer camps, advocacy and education are fueled by you, our loyal supporters. So keep showing your muscle in the fight against muscle disease — be sure to thank retailers who display MDA mobiles, keep participating in our Muscle Walks, and take time to volunteer at, or refer a volunteer to, an MDA summer camp. And consider joining, or encouraging others to join, MDA’s Team Momentum — there’s still time to register for one of our upcoming endurance events. We welcome all walkers and runners who are ready to move their muscles and raise funds to improve and save lives. 

With your help, MDA can ensure that the pace of muscle disease research continues and accelerates, that medical care improves and that support remains steady and strong. Each day we fight — together as an army — for a future where muscle health, not muscle disease, prevails.

Warmest regards,

Steven M. Derks
President and CEO
Muscular Dystrophy Association

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