Families Are at the Heart of the Muscular Dystrophy Association 

For more than 65 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association has been committed to saving and improving the lives of kids and adults living with muscular dystrophy and related life-threatening diseases. We wake up every morning to create more hope and answers for families living with muscular dystrophy and related diseases that take away physical strength and mobility. We do this by finding research breakthroughs across diseases, caring for kids and adults from day one and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America,” said Lynzy Groves, Development Specialist with the MDA. 

Many may not be aware that the MDA is a national umbrella organization that serves 43 types of neuromuscular diseases including ALS, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) which are the most common. MDA has been serving our members since 1950. Specifically, in our area, the MDA serves 27 counties of Western Pennsylvania and more than 2,000 local families. All of our funds raised in our area stay local to support our local families living with neuromuscular diseases,” said Ms. Groves. 

The MDA is in time of truly unprecedented progress. In the last two years, seven drugs have become FDA approved and one more drug is expected to receive FDA approval in May of this year. These results include the first treatment for ALS in more than 20 years. We are seeing families gaining more time with their loved ones and a decrease in progression of certain neuromuscular diseases because of these treatments. Unfortunately, they are not cures, and that is why supporting and donating to the MDA is so important,” said Ms. Groves.  

Volunteers are an integral part of the mission as well. We are always looking for volunteers for our various events throughout the year. Volunteer needs typically include accounting, event set up and registration, MDA Summer Camp counselors and medical staff, and general office work. We also have internship opportunities year-round,” said Ms. Groves. 

Though working for MDA is Ms. Groves job, it has become more than that for her. “When you work with our MDA members and their families, they become extensions of your own family. You care for them as much as you would care for anyone you love, and I have become a part of their stories. Our members have disabilities, but it does not stop them from doing anything. Our families have inspired me to live without limitations and to never take a second for granted. I am truly blessed and humbled to work for such and incredible organization that serves such incredible people,” she said. 

As she looks back over the six plus decades, Ms. Groves offers hope, We are proud of our rich history and grateful to the dedicated families and supporters who have made today’s progress possible. The victories of our past will lead to tomorrow’s treatments and cures!” 

MDA fundraisers are always open to the community. Follow them on Facebook @mdawesternpa for event updates. Fundraisers include Muscle Walk (Pittsburgh & Erie), Toast to Life Gala (Pittsburgh & Erie), Fill the Boot (various fire departments host these events and will collect on street corners throughout Western PA), MDA Shamrock pinups at various retail locations in the month of March, and many small fundraisers locally at restaurants and other places of business. 

 By Janice Lane Palko