What’s the Toy Story?
Barbies were a favorite toy of young Jessica Hetzel, despite the fact that the dolls looked nothing like her. It took until February 2019, when Jessica was 17, for Mattel to release a Barbie in a wheelchair. “I’m not playing with Barbies these days,” says Hetzel, who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). “But I was excited to see they finally did it.”Read More
More Than a Game
A typical weekend day for me starts off with my partner or caregiver feeding me breakfast (Cheerios with milk on the side) and ends with me falling asleep to an episode of “Cutthroat Kitchen.” In between these moments, I game with friends from all over the country. Gaming has been part of my life since the 1980s. I grew up playing on all the major gaming systems and had a constant slew of competitors in my brother and neighborhood friends. But as congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) affected my body over the years, and as game controllers became more complex, I started having trouble keeping up with my peers.Read More
Wheels Like Mine
I am a mom. I have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). My son has SMA, too. Because SMA is a genetic disorder, these statements may not seem surprising. It wouldn’t be all that strange for a person with SMA to pass on their condition to their child. But that is not our story. Our journey to family is more convoluted and, dare I say, even more beautiful than most would guess. Ours is a story of love and adoption and beauty where others see tragedy.Read More
The Ups and Downs of Accessible Air Travel
Cory Lee, who lives with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), has explored 32 countries in the past five years. While traversing the globe in his 300-pound power wheelchair, Lee writes about accessible travel on his blog curbfreewithcorylee.com, which has garnered thousands of followers. The No. 1 topic people ask him about is air travel.Read More
Care Across the Lifespan
The patient journey starts with a diagnosis and often involves pediatric-to-adult transition, clinical follow-ups and multidisciplinary disease management. In recent years, the care model for neuromuscular disease has evolved into a patient-centric treatment approach, in which individuals are driving their own care decisions.Read More
What Happened to You?
“What happened to you?” The question became familiar to me as a child while the young, curious faces stared at my power wheelchair.I wanted so badly for my peers to see me as a “normal” kid, yet there was nothing I could do to mask my differences.I have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic condition caused by a mutation that affects muscle use. Only 1 in 11,000 people are born with this condition.Read More
When a medical emergency occurs — and the patient is a person with a neuromuscular disease — it’s not just getting to the emergency department (ED) quickly that’s critical. It’s also critical to ensure the ED staff understands the patient’s particular needs.“Many emergency department physicians have a limited background in neuromuscular disease,” states Lisa Wolfe, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the MDA Care Center at Northwestern University in Chicago. Unfortunately, many people don’t discover this potential problem until they’ve arrived for emergency care.Read More
The Independent Mindset
After Sandra Young was diagnosed with late-onset Pompe disease at age 52, she thought her life would change and she would no longer be able to do the things she enjoyed.“While my friends and family were living their lives, I was sitting on the sidelines missing out,” Young says. “It took me a year to realize I am the same person as before. I hit a stumble in the road, and it shouldn’t stop me from doing the things I want to do. I woke up and thought, ‘Girl, you can still do it, you just have to do it differently.’”Read More
Take to the Skies
Every day, millions of people board flights bound for destinations across the United States and around the globe. Unfortunately, navigating sprawling airports and negotiating cramped planes makes traveling by air an uncomfortable experience for most passengers, and it can prove to be downright daunting for those with mobility challenges and other disabilities.Read More
Adaptive Is the New Black
This fall, New York Fashion Week opened with a bang: A runway show called Fashion Revolution presented numerous types of adaptive clothing worn by 30 models with disabilities. Organized by the Runway of Dreams Foundation — a nonprofit created by Mindy Scheier, whose son, Oliver, has a rare type of muscular dystrophy — the show highlighted the foundation’s goals of dispelling common fashion industry misconceptions about people with disabilities.Read More
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Our trained specialists are here to provide one-on-one support for every part of your journey. Send a message below or call us at 1-833-ASK-MDA1 (1-833-275-6321). If you live outside the U.S., we may be able to connect you to muscular dystrophy groups in your area, but MDA services are only available in the U.S.