Celebrate Aisles of Smiles with MDA

The MDA Aisles of Smiles program began as a notion held by a father whose son had muscular dystrophy. In 1984, Hank Lautrup was a food broker employed by Southern California-based Kelley-Clarke Inc. Hank’s son, Timmy, was seen at MDA's Care Center and attended MDA Summer Camp, all while his dad was involved on the local MDA Executive Committee. Hank saw the type of events being held and money raised by other sponsors such as Anheuser-Busch and Harley-Davidson, and he figured his industry — the food industry — also could have a program that raised money to support MDA while also serving as a mechanism to boost his employer’s sales business. To join MDA and the Aisles of Smiles campaign or if you have any questions, please email us at partners@mdausa.org.

The freedom to walk, to talk, to run and play. To laugh, to hug. To eat. To breathe.

Each day these freedoms are taken away from kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases that weaken muscle strength and limit mobility. MDA fights to give these individuals – and the families who love them – strength, independence and life to help them live longer and grow stronger. We do so by:

  • Finding research breakthroughs across diseases to accelerate treatments and cures. MDA is currently funding more than 150 research projects in 11 countries.
  • Caring for kids and adults from day one. MDA has more than 150 MDA Care Centers across the United States and in Puerto Rico located at top hospitals and health care facilities.
  • Empowering with families with services and support in hometowns across America, including the nearly 75 weeklong MDA Summer Camps held at no cost to families

Funding Research to Find Treatments and Cures

MDA Research in Action
  • Basic research grants lead to the discovery of new treatments and potential cures.
  • Grants for clinical trials and translational research move promising discoveries along the drug development pipeline toward becoming approved therapies.
  • Clinical research networks and disease registries advance the understanding of muscle disease and lead to improved health outcomes.
  • Conferences and symposia catalyze research progress by bringing together top scientific minds to collaborate and share insights.

Empowering Families in Hometowns Across America

  • Advocacy amplifies the voices of people with neuromuscular disease, ensuring that legislators and policymakers are aware of issues of importance to our community.
  • Community events create greater awareness of muscle disease, and provide local families and volunteers with an effective way to fight back against muscle disease.

  • Last year, MDA awarded 103 research grants with a total funding commitment of more than $27.5 million.
  • This year, dozens of clinical trials are in progress thanks in part to MDA’s long-term research investments.
  • MDA brings together nearly 450 neuromuscular disease clinicians and experts every other year at our annual Clinical Conference to drive the best outcomes and care for families today.
  • Last year, 35,000 kids and adults were provided treatment and care at more than 150 MDA Care Centers.
  • More than 4,000 trained volunteer counselors and nearly 400 volunteer medical staff generously gave their time to support kids at MDA Summer Camp in 2015.
  • We’re advocating for policies to help more young adults living with muscular dystrophy make the transition to independent living.