Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

Doilie Symphony II

Elisabeth received a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN.  She began creating artwork as a toddler as soon as she realized paint was not something to eat!  Her artwork has won awards in juried shows and she was the winner of the 2008 Neurology Now magazine art contest.  Along with creating artwork, Elisabeth enjoys reading, good tea and she’s a comic and Renaissance Fest fan.

Clown Fish


Kerrie and her brother Rob Whitaker served as National Goodwill Ambassadors in 1963-64.  She has two pieces of artwork in the Art Collection.

50 Years of Caring


Morgan’s hobbies include riding horses, painting, reading and swimming.  She, along with some help from her father Ron, who is a fire fighter, created this artwork in 2004 to honor the International Association of Fire Fighters during its 50th anniversary as an MDA sponsor.  Morgan was profiled on the 2003 MDA Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.  She served as the 2004 MDA Goodwill Ambassador for Missouri and the 2005 MDA National Goodwill Ambassador.

Camp Fun


Alexis enjoys art and math in school.  Her other hobbies are dancing and singing.  Alexis also enjoys attending MDA sponsored summer camp every year and has appeared in national print ad campaigns for the Association.

Braid Of Gold

Barbara has been painting and teaching art classes for many years.  Her works have been exhibited in numerous art fairs and expositions in California.  While a resident of that state, Barbara served on the San Diego Art Council for six years and was a member of several art organizations.

Blue Portrait

Melina has a proficiency certificate in English from Cambridge and Oxford Universities and attended the Panteion University of Athens.  She enjoys painting and sketching and has participated in a number of art exhibits.  She has also written and published literature.


Craig created his artwork at age 17 and won several awards for his works.  In 2004 he received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University where he began painting on canvas.  Craig is active in theatre groups, singing and a car club.

Living With

Dear Friends:

I’ve had symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy since I was a baby. When most children were beginning to walk, my parents noticed that my head would flop to the floor as I crawled.

Jerry Ferro

Read more ...

'Milk-Making' Molecule Lengthens Life Span in SMA Mice

The administration of a protein called prolactin has been shown to slow weight loss, improve motor function and increase life span by approximately 70 percent in mice with a disease resembling a severe form of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Prolactin is a hormone whose primary function is to promote milk production in women who are breastfeeding.