The Muscular Dystrophy Association timed its National Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month to September, picking up where its historic telethon left off.
In many ways, September was already muscular dystrophy awareness month.
For nearly 50 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association put on an annual Labor Day telethon, most years hosted by the iconic comedian Jerry Lewis. The event was retired in 2015, but MDA hasn’t abandoned the goal of raising awareness of neuromuscular disorders—and money to fund research seeking new therapies.
MDA has focused on online-friendly tactics since 2015, including viral events meant to draw attention on the local level. And this year, it found a new way to claim September as its own, launching MDA National Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month.
In a news release, MDA President and CEO Lynn O’Connor Vos said the new campaign reflects both the association’s past and its future.
“Since the days of MDA’s renowned annual Labor Day telethon, September has been one of our most important fundraising periods to help us continue our mission of transforming the lives of people affected by muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular disease,” she stated. “We have made tremendous progress in just the last few years, but we need the public’s continued support if we are to accelerate the momentum to find cures.”
In recent years, the organization has funded more than $1 billion in research, including 224 separate grants that have led to six neuromuscular disease treatments. Additionally, MDA is in the midst of building its MOVR (neuroMuscular ObserVational Research) Data Hub, which will offer real-world information on patients to the medical community, with a goal of improving outcomes.
Beyond awareness, MDA is using the campaign to promote its “30 Days of Strength” initiative, which encourages people to create their own fundraiser pages to help support MDA’s cause.