MDA Matters Fall 2012

Clown Fish by Kerri Braun (left); Flower Power by Aubrey Olson (top right); and The Garden by Sarah Schwegel (bottom right).
Article Highlights:
  • MDA’s ambassador artists help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the MDA Art Collection.
  • Flu season often starts to peak in November, so October is an ideal time for getting a flu shot. MDA again is offering free flu shots to individuals in its program.
  • Videos of the presentations at the 2012 Becker Muscular Dystrophy Conference are now available on the MDA website.
by Quest Staff on October 1, 2012 - 9:00am

QUEST Vol. 19, No. 4

MDA’s ambassador artists help celebrate 20th anniversary

Clown Fish, Kerri Braun, spinal muscular atrophy
Flower Power, Aubrey Olson, Friedreich's ataxia
The Garden, Sarah Schwegel, spinal muscular atrophy

All this year, Quest has been celebrating a special anniversary — the 20th year of the MDA Art Collection. Established in 1992 to focus attention on the achievements of artists with disbilities, the Collection contains nearly 400 original works by adults and children with neuromuscular diseases. It is on permanent display at MDA's national headquarters in Tucson, Ariz., and selected pieces travel to exhibits around the country.

Among the artists in the Collection is a very select group of nine individuals who served the Association as National Goodwill Ambassadors: Kerri Braun (1963-64), Haleigh Maurice (1968-69), Tomás Díaz (1995), Aubrey and Nick Olson (1998-99), Sarah Schwegel (2001), Morgan Fritz (2005), Luke Christie (2006-07) and Abbey Umali (2008-11).

During their years of service, these young ambassadors traveled the country representing families affected by neuromuscular disease.

Through their enduring artwork, they continue to spread an important message — that the physical disability caused by progressive neuromuscular disease can never impose limits on creativity. Here is a sampling of their work — to see more, visit the Art Collection’s Online Gallery.

Flu season is just around the corner

For people with weak respiratory muscles due to neuromuscular disease, the flu can be a life-threatening illness. One way to prevent it is to get a flu shot. Flu season often starts to peak in November, so October is an ideal time to get a shot. Of course, check with your doctor before obtaining any vaccine, especially if you’re affected by myasthenia gravis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, or if you’re taking immune-suppressing medications such as corticosteroids.

If your current health coverage doesn’t include seasonal flu vaccines as a preventive health benefit, the MDA Flu Shot Program can help. Individuals affected by neuromuscular disease can receive a free flu shot through their local MDA-sponsored clinic, or they can receive reimbursement (up to $35) for the cost of flu vaccines received from licensed health professionals, including those located at retail pharmacies.

Because individuals affected by neuromuscular disease are at increased risk from the flu, it’s important to stay informed to protect yourself and your family. For more information, go to MDA Flu Season Support.

BMD conference videos now available

MDA and the University of Chicago teamed up August 11 to present the 2012 Becker Muscular Dystrophy Conference. Free of charge to anyone affected by Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), the conference covered such topics as cardiac and pulmonary care, genetic counseling, physical and occupational therapy, nutrition, transitioning to adulthood and research.

Attended in person by approximately 100 individuals with BMD and their families and friends, as well as some 40 clinicians and researchers, the conference also was “virtually attended” by individuals around the country who participated online. Online participants were able to ask questions from their remote locations.

The daylong conference was videotaped and has been archived, by presentation, on the BMD Conference video page.

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