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Registration opens for Virtual MDA Summer Camp for Children with Neuromuscular Diseases

NEW YORK, April 21, 2021 -- The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) today announced the opening of registration for its virtual MDA Summer Camp for children ages 8 to 17 living with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular diseases. MDA Summer Camp, which has been offered in-person for more than 65 years, is being held virtually for the second year due to the pandemic.

MDA Summer Campers enjoy staying connected and learning through virtual programming produced by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, for children ages 8-17 living with neuromuscular diseases.
MDA Summer Campers enjoy staying connected and learning through virtual programming produced by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, for children ages 8-17 living with neuromuscular diseases.

Offered at no cost to families, virtual MDA Summer Camp, this year titled, The Great Escape, will include themed programming, accessible activities, STEM programming, virtual connections with fellow campers, and more. Like the regular camp program, virtual MDA Summer Camp will provide fun, new experiences for campers while helping them build their confidence, create life-long friendships, and build other important life skills.

“We’re very excited about the start of our virtual camp,” said Donald S. Wood, PhD, president and CEO of MDA. “Our campers will enjoy a host of fun and engaging activities like arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, STEM, special snacks, and more. There will also be exciting new opportunities that can only happen in a virtual environment such as meeting fellow campers from across the country. We’re so grateful to our dedicated volunteers and our generous sponsors for making this possible.”

Virtual MDA Summer Camp, The Great Escape, will be offered in one-week sessions (Monday-Thursday), beginning the week of June 21 through the week of August 2 (there will be no camp the week of July 4). Families will select the week of their choice when registering their children. Since campers participate from their homes, siblings are also welcomed to join in the fun. For most activities, campers and families will select the best time for them to participate on demand. Camp programming in 2021 will include daily themes like Journey into the Wild; Across America; Around the World; and Time Travel. Learn about what’s new for 2021 in this video.

The success of MDA Summer Camp is driven by the invaluable national and local corporate partners that support MDA research, healthcare care programs and services, advocacy, and education programs, including the International Association of Fire Fighters, CITGO Petroleum Corporation and Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

CITGO Petroleum Corporation is MDA’s largest corporate sponsor and this year CITGO and MDA celebrate 35 years of partnership. MDA is honored to celebrate that journey by having CITGO named as the 2021 Virtual Camp “Journey Across America” theme sponsor.

The partnership between MDA and the International Association of Fire Fighters spans 67 years, beginning in 1954 when the IAFF signed a proclamation designating MDA its charity of choice and vowing to continue raising awareness and funds until cures are found. To date, the partnership fundraising activities include 300,000 fire fighters nationwide and has raised $672 million over nearly seven decades.

MDA & Harley-Davidson, along with Harley dealers, HOG Chapters, riders, and suppliers, have been partners for 40+ years.

This year MDA is excited to partner with General Motors for an immersive STEM experience. Each camp session will include intentional, hands-on activities for campers to explore STEM-related concepts and everyday applications, as well as learn about STEM-related careers. “General Motors is so excited to be collaborating with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, bringing immersive STEM learning opportunities to the next generation of leaders and innovators that will help propel the automotive industry into an all-electric future,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of Corporate Giving for GM.

“MDA Summer Camp is the best week of my life every year!” said Ethan LyBrand, MDA National Ambassador. “I was heartbroken when I heard camp wasn’t going to happen in-person, but I am so excited that MDA is making camp available online!”

“My daughter, Rylie, attended Virtual MDA Summer Camp last year, and she had a great time,” said Stephanie Erbacher, resource coordinator for the national MDA Resource Center. “I love that my son was able to participate in the activities along with her.”

“I really liked camp last year,” said Rylie, age 12. “It was a little bit different since it was virtual. But I got to talk to kids from all over the country who were just like me. We also did really cool projects.”

About the Muscular Dystrophy Association

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For 70 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been committed to transforming the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. We do this through innovations in science and innovations in care. As the largest source of funding for neuromuscular disease research outside of the federal government, MDA has committed more than $1 billion since our inception to accelerate the discovery of therapies and cures. Research we have supported is directly linked to life-changing therapies across multiple neuromuscular diseases. MDA's MOVR is the first and only data hub that aggregates clinical, genetic, and patient-reported data for multiple neuromuscular diseases to improve health outcomes and accelerate drug development. MDA supports the largest network of multidisciplinary clinics providing best-in-class care at more than 150 of the nation's top medical institutions. Our Resource Center serves the community with one-on-one specialized support, and we offer educational conferences, events, and materials for families and healthcare providers. MDA Advocacy supports equal access for our community, and each year thousands of children and young adults learn vital life skills and gain independence at summer camp and through recreational programs, at no cost to families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MDA continues to produce virtual events and programming to support our community when in-person events and activities are not possible. MDA’s COVID-19 guidelines and virtual events are posted at mda.org/COVID19. For more information, visit mda.org.