Hope Fueling Action

Celebrating scientific advancement, MDA summer camp and more

by Quest Staff on April 21, 2015 - 9:00am

Quest Spring 2015

I am often asked what’s the single most important way we at MDA can best serve our families and best represent our donors. While MDA is delighted to provide an array of services and support, we believe our greatest opportunity for impact is to mobilize aggressively on the front lines in the discovery of treatments and cures. 

Steven M. Derks

Together, thanks to incredibly generous supporters, we are doing our best to create hope, but the simple reality is hope alone isn’t enough. Our families are counting on us to turn hope into action. To respond, we have charted a bold plan to accelerate drug development and treatments during the next five years. Specifically, we will:

  • Increase the number of promising clinical trials, hosting more at MDA clinics.
  • Expand and retarget our research investments with a focus on unlocking both causes and therapies.
  • Increase the number of new drugs and therapies available for families.
  • Open new channels to connect with and support more families.
  • Add top research and scientific talent to drive better outcomes.
  • Find new, relevant ways to engage consumers in funding our mission.

Last month’s MDA Scientific Conference in Washington, D.C., served as a launching point for how we intend to accelerate scientific and therapeutic developments. More than 400 leaders from the academic, corporate drug development and clinical arenas specializing in neuromuscular disease gathered to share critical research updates and ideas to speed progress. The conference focused on better understanding disease causes, identifying therapeutic targets and discussing new advances in preclinical and clinical research — all aimed at moving potential therapies from the lab to the living room quicker.

Because of medical and scientific advances, more kids with neuromuscular diseases are living longer and becoming young adults ready to take on the world. At MDA summer camp, children acquire many of the skills necessary to embark on their journey into adulthood. This summer, we are proudly celebrating the 60th anniversary of our life-changing summer camp program. Children love MDA summer camp because it’s where they have the freedom to be kids with others who are just like them.

Like one of our campers shared with me: “Camp is a special place where you can do anything, things you never thought you could do. It’s a place where I don’t have to worry about my disease or my disability.”

MDA summer camp is a strong example of why we’re here and why we’re fighting so hard to find treatments and cures, while supporting our families every step through their journey. Our cover story on page 20 is dedicated to our campers, families, camp graduates, volunteers and sponsors.

Donors and volunteers are the lifeblood of our operations. We thank you for your support and encourage you to keep showing your strength in the fight against muscle disease. Please thank a fire fighter at a busy intersection holding up a boot for MDA. Thank retailers who ask for donations to MDA at checkout and line their walls with cards showing support. Keep participating in Muscle Walk and other local MDA events. Every dollar raised fuels our progress to find treatments and cures and enhance care and support for our families.

Together, we are progress.

Steven M. Derks
President and CEO
Muscular Dystrophy Association

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