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Shamrocks Spirit

Celebrating 35 years of MDA Shamrocks

This year marks the 35th anniversary of MDA’s Shamrocks fundraising partnership with retail stores across the country. To get in the Shamrocks spirit, we’d like to introduce you to some of the kids featured in this year’s campaign, which kicks off in February. 

Meet Gabrielle, age 14

When Gabrielle was diagnosed at the age of 1 with type 2 spinal muscular atrophy, her parents were told she wouldn’t see her third birthday. Now 14, Gabrielle is thriving and doesn’t allow anyone or anything to stop her from doing what she loves. She attended MDA Summer Camp for the first time in 2016, and her favorite memory was being able to go horseback riding.

“I don’t allow anyone to stop me from doing what I desire to do. I’ve traveled to Europe and the Caribbean and dream of traveling to other places, too.” 

Meet Natalie, age 10

Natalie enjoys playing with her little sister, Avery. After her diagnosis of Bethlem myopathy, a form of muscular dystrophy, her family didn’t know what was in store for her future. Today, Natalie is getting the support and assistance she needs to live longer and grow stronger by attending MDA Summer Camp and receiving expert, multidisciplinary care at the local MDA Care Center. When she grows up, Natalie wants to become an architect and build accessible homes and buildings.

“My favorite part of Shamrocks is going to all of the participating stores and taking pictures.”

Meet Garin, age 13

Garin was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) at age 3, and even though daily life with this disease is challenging, that doesn’t stop Garin from facing them head on with the most wonderful attitude. He loves animals — including his service dog, Ranger — and dreams of someday becoming an architect to design buildings that are more accessible. 

“When facing each day with a fatal disease, you certainly learn to not sweat the small stuff and to appreciate each day. We know that if we enjoy the moments of today, we can handle the challenges of tomorrow when we get there.” — Garin and Rebekah, Garin’s parents 

We Want You

Meeting our MDA families and volunteers makes a big difference in the spirit, commitment and effort to sell more shamrocks for participating retailers and their employees. When they meet the families they are helping, it makes their fundraising efforts so much more meaningful. There are so many ways you can get involved. Visit to find participating retailers near you and sign up to become an MDA Shamrocks volunteer, or contact your local MDA office.


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