Walk to benefit Alabamians with muscular diseasesBy Alana Norris | 03/23/2015 11:28pm
Stephen Moore and Shaylee Beck will participate in the MDA Muscle Walk on Saturday, April 11. Photo Courtesy of Casey Ramey
The Muscular Dystrophy Association’s mission is to save and improve the lives of people fighting muscular diseases. The organization does this through raising money and awareness with events such as their annual Muscle Walk.
The MDA Muscle Walk will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 11, at John Carroll High School in Birmingham.
Casey Ramey of MDA Birmingham said the MDA Muscle Walk is the organization’s largest family-driven event that raises funding for neuromuscular disease research and services.
“It is a time for families and friends and supporters to come together to know that we are all in this for the same goal,” Ramey said. “We want to find treatments and cures for over 40 neuromuscular diseases.”
MDA is looking for sponsors to donate money in support of people joining the walk. They typically have 300 people participate in the walk each year. Each team member sets a goal of how much they want to raise. Participants are asked to try to raise at least $100 in donations.
Stephen Moore is a former University of Alabama student who has been diagnosed with dermatomyositis, an extremely rare autoimmune disorder that affects the muscles and does not have a cure. He will participate in the Muscle Walk for the first time this year with a team of 13 friends and family. His team, Strength through Knowledge, has a goal to raise $5,000.
Teams will take two laps around the high school’s track. The first lap is to celebrate the funding they have earned and the second lap is in memory of those lost to neuromuscular disease. Many teams make signs and cheer for each other.
The event will have a family-friendly carnival-type atmosphere with games, food, music and an awards ceremony. Awards will be given for most team spirit, the highest fundraising first-year team, the team with the most participants and the highest fundraising team.
Shaylee Beck is participating in the walk on Moore’s team. Beck said she is donating all of the tips she earns while at work at the Black Warrior Brewing Company on Friday, April 3, to the team.
“This walk is a way for us to go out and take action for something we believe in,” she said. “We want to encourage people to go out and make a difference in the community.”
The money raised benefits individuals in Alabama through local services including flu shots, support groups, educational symposiums, clinic visits, therapy sessions, repairs to durable medical equipment and sending children to MDA summer camp. The money will also go to 250 research projects, two of which are in Alabama.
MDA also has a clinic program for those affected by muscular diseases. Alabama’s four clinics are all located in Birmingham. Not only can patients see physicians and nurses, but they also have access to physical, respiratory and occupational therapists and specialists like neurologists and pulmonologists. Patients can therefore have four or five appointments in one visit.
Moore said after fighting with insurance companies, paying mounting medical costs, advocating for himself and doing his own research, he found out that MDA can be a great support to him.
“If you are registered through the MDA you can go to these clinics for free,” he said. “They’re going to be the one who are going to be your advocates and really fight for you and get the correct medication. It’s something I wish I knew about a lot earlier because it’s just unbelievably frustrating having to call insurance companies.”
Each team has an individual webpage for donations. Donations can be made to the organization directly at walk.mda.org or by calling 823-8191. All donations were matched up to $75,000 until Friday, March 13.
MDA is currently accepting applications for volunteer MDA summer camp counselors. Anyone interested can call 823-8191.