Keeping in Touch November-December 2008

by Gerald C. Weinberg on November 1, 2008 - 3:07pm

QUEST Vol. 15, No. 6

MDA events and accomplishments in 2008 confirm that the technological age most assuredly is upon us. And it brings with it blessings we could not have conceived even a short decade ago.

For me, technology is personified in a very real sense in Tom Bush, the recipient of MDA’s 2009 Robert Ross National Personal Achievement Award.  After an illustrious 30-year career in New Jersey state government, Tom, who has spinal muscular atrophy, moved to Tucson in the 1990s and embarked on a second career at MDA Headquarters as the developer and manager of MDA’s fledgling Web site.

Today, thanks in part to Tom’s formative management, the MDA Web site is a wonderful tool of information and connection for people affected by muscular dystrophy and related diseases, as well as for the scientific community, medical profession and general public.

And while the Internet has made amazing strides toward uniting the world, technology has improved life in other areas equally important to the people MDA serves:

  • Power wheelchairs are now so advanced that soon it may be possible to guide one via the user’s brainwaves.
  • People no longer able to use their hands can operate computers via other body parts, including the eyes, eyebrows, mouth and feet.
  • Communications devices effectively “speak” for those who can no longer do so.

For these reasons and more, MDA is committed to helping people with muscle diseases access assistive technology, whether through our clinics, our MDA Loan Closets, financial assistance toward the purchase and repair of wheelchairs and communication devices, or through practical information in this magazine.

This year, for the first time, MDA conducted an electronic event in parallel with our legendary Telethon — an auction of incredible scale, conducted completely online. More than 2,500 items, graciously donated by MDA sponsors, celebrities and friends, were auctioned off online to buyers whose common tie was their connection to the Web, their desire to help MDA and their search for a good bargain.

For those who enjoy golf and online gaming, MDA and the World Golf Tour created the Jerry Lewis Open, a recreational opportunity available to anyone with a computer. From Oct. 10 to Oct. 31, players enjoyed simulated golf on two of the best courses in the world — and while they were at it, they could make a donation to MDA.

During this holiday season, we have more reasons than ever to be thankful for our blessings — many of them technological. Happy holidays!

Gerald C. Weinberg
President & CEO

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