WHO IS MDA?
MDA is leading the fight to free individuals – and the families who love them – from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. We use our collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger by finding research breakthroughs across diseases; caring for individuals from day one; and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America.
Locally we have five MDA Care Centers at Northwestern Medical, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital and Rush University Medical Center. Our MDA Care Centers offer families best-in-class, comprehensive care and utilize a multidisciplinary team approach, meaning individuals can see knowledgeable health care specialists from a variety of disciplines, all at one location. We also offer a week-long summer camp in Hudson, IL for children ages 6-17 at no cost to their families. At MDA Summer Camp kids with neuromuscular disease live beyond their limits in a place where anything is possible. It’s a week where they’re free to enjoy adventures like horseback riding, swimming and fishing, develop lifelong friendships, and build self-confidence and independence.
WHAT IS ALS?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a disease of the motor neurons, which control voluntary muscle movement but leave mental function intact. The cause is generally unknown, although about 10% of cases are genetic. The majority are sporadic, meaning that it knows no racial, sexual, religious or other boundaries. ALS can be anyone’s life story. ALS results in a slow paralysis, eventually affecting respiratory and cardiac muscles, resulting in death typically two to five years after diagnosis. Large strides have been made in ALS research over the past few years and researchers continue to move on the path for a cure.