|The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a voluntary
health agency -- a dedicated partnership between scientists and concerned citizens aimed
at conquering 40 neuromuscular diseases that affect more than a million Americans.
MDA combats neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research,
comprehensive medical and community services, and far-reaching professional and public
health education. With national headquarters in Tucson, MDA has 186 district offices
across the country, operates some 230 hospital-affiliated clinics and supports nearly 400
research projects around the world.
MDA supports more research on neuromuscular diseases than any other
private-sector organization in the world. MDA scientists are in the forefront of gene
therapy research and have uncovered the genetic defects responsible for several forms of
muscular dystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), childhood spinal muscular atrophy, and several other
The Association's comprehensive service program includes medical
examinations, flu shots, support groups, MDA summer camps for youngsters and assistance
with purchase of wheelchairs and leg braces.
MDA was created in 1950 by a group of adults with muscular
dystrophy, parents of children with muscular dystrophy, and a physician-scientist studying
the disorder. Since its earliest days it has been energized by its number-one volunteer
and national chairman, entertainer Jerry Lewis.
The Association's programs are funded almost entirely by individual
private contributors. MDA seeks no government grants, United Way funding or fees from
those it serves.