MDA Matters Winter 2013

In 2013, there will be more than 160 MDA Muscle Walks from mid-January to mid-April, making it the largest event of its kind in the United States.
Article Highlights:
  • MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Bryson Foster of Concord, N.C., has been named to a second term.
  • The 2013 MDA Muscle Walk season is in full swing, with more than 50,000 people already registered to particate in walks nationwide.
  • MDA Board member Chris Rosa has been awarded the New York Post Liberty Medal in the education category.
  • Neuroscientist and former MDA research grantee Robert L. Barchi has been named president of Rutgers University.
by Quest Staff on January 7, 2013 - 9:01am

Quest Vol. 20, No. 1
Bryson Foster

Bryson’s back!

MDA has named 12-year-old Bryson Foster of Concord, N.C., to a second term as its National Goodwill Ambassador. In 2013, as they did in 2012, Bryson and his parents will travel the country spreading the word about the Association’s efforts to find treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases. A few of Bryson’s upcoming appearances include Lowe’s national conference in Las Vegas, Nev.; the Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s 110th anniversary celebration in Milwaukee; and an MDA Muscle Walk in Charlotte, N.C. Bryson has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and uses a power chair for long distances.

Our best foot forward: Muscle Walk begins

More than 50,000 people already are registered to support MDA during the 2013 Muscle Walk season, helping to “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference” in their communities and pay tribute to — and raise funds for — children and adults served by MDA.

Muscle Walk is a fun, noncompetitive walk held in communities across the country. There will be more than 160 MDA Muscle Walks from mid-January to mid-April, making it the largest event of its kind in the United States.

Three new national partners have signed on for the 2013 MDA Muscle Walk season to help support the campaign, and MDA research and services programs:, Pride Mobility Products and ATG Rehab.

Last year, MDA Muscle Walk raised more than $6.2 million; more than $10 million has been raised since the campaign’s inception in 2011. Join the fun — sign up for a Muscle Walk near you! To learn more or to donate, visit

Chris Rosa

MDA Board member receives top honor

MDA Board member Chris Rosa has been awarded the New York Post Liberty Medal in the education category. Rosa is dean of student affairs at City University of New York (CUNY). The award is given to an educator who excels in preparing the next generation for future challenges.

Rosa, who has a Ph.D. in sociology, is an inspiration to young adults living with neuromuscular disease, advocating for them on campus at CUNY and as a volunteer leader of MDA’s National Transitions Program. As a result of advances in research and clinical care, many individuals diagnosed with “pediatric” muscle diseases now are living well into adulthood, and Rosa is helping MDA pave a path to success and independence for this new generation.

“Chris is a national role model who devotes countless hours as a mentor for young people living with neuromuscular diseases as they become adults,” said MDA Medical Director and Executive Vice President of Research Valerie Cwik, M.D. “Having made that transition himself, he graciously shares his experience with others.”

Rosa, who has Becker muscular dystrophy, frequently travels to Washington, D.C., to advocate at the national level for the MDA community. He also has served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Employee Disability Concerns of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

Of his award, Rosa said, “I hope that this recognition demonstrates that access and opportunity for people with disabilities is built through simple, ordinary acts of advocacy that empower people each and every day.”

Robert L. Barchi

Former MDA research grantee, adviser named Rutgers president

Renowned neuroscientist and educator Robert L. Barchi recently was named president of Rutgers University. A neuroscience researcher, Barchi has a long history with MDA, having served on the MDA Medical Advisory Committee from 1983 to 1993, and received several MDA research grants in the 1990s. Earlier in his career, in the 1970s and 80s, Barchi was a clinician in the MDA Clinic at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Barchi, who previously served as president of Thomas Jefferson University and provost of the University of Pennsylvania, is the 20th president of Rutgers University, located in New Brunswick, N.J.

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