Make a Muscle, Make a Difference®
MDA is the nation’s largest voluntary health agency
dedicated to funding neuromuscular disease
research, health care services and education. MDA
supports cutting-edge neuromuscular disease
research; ensures that all Americans affected by these diseases receive
treatment and critical care; and serves as a voice for families with
In the early 1950s,
Eleanor Gehrig (Mrs. Lou Gehrig) learned about the establishment
of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America. She said, "I saw that
here was the answer to my personal need — people whose thirst for action was as
deep as my own. I immediately offered my services."
- MDA-funded basic research has provided the foundation for
most of the experimental treatments for neuromuscular disorders currently in
researchers have discovered the genes underlying nearly all of the diseases in
MDA’s program and are at the forefront of therapy development for these
- In 2012,
MDA will fund some 300 scientific research projects around the world.
- In 1986,
MDA-supported researchers discovered the gene responsible for Duchenne muscular
dystrophy, launching a new era in disease research.
basic research helped lead to the development of lifesaving, FDA-approved
enzyme-replacement therapies for Pompe disease, helping babies survive and
thrive and enabling those who developed Pompe later in life to enjoy longer and
- MDA has a
long-term strategic partnership with the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), accelerating the process of discovering new
treatments to slow, stop or even reverse ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Neuromuscular disease affects people of all races,
ethnicities and socioeconomic status. That’s why MDA works to ensure that all
Americans affected by these diseases have access to specialized, knowledgeable
Over the years, MDA has built the nation’s only
neuromuscular clinic network, with some 200 MDA clinics
— including more than 40 MDA/ALS centers
for the treatment of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Each clinic
is staffed by a team of top health professionals — all experts in the diagnosis
and medical management of neuromuscular disease. MDA also provides free flu
shots to adults and children with neuromuscular diseases, because a simple case
of the flu can be life-threatening to those with weak respiratory muscles.
MDA empowers families with detailed, up-to-date information
about research and health care. Thousands of pages of vital information are
available free of charge at MDA.org. The Association also offers local, national and online
MDA was the first nonprofit organization recognized with a
Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association “for
significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity.”
Support and Advocacy
- MDA offers
“strength in community” for families living with a neuromuscular disease
through free local support group sessions; the myMuscleTeam online care
coordination and volunteer recruitment tool; MDA’s online communities on Facebook and Twitter; and regularly scheduled MDA chats.
provides free accessible summer camps for some 3,500 kids with muscle diseases each year.
- MDA has
helped reshape public understanding of the extraordinary accomplishments made
by people with disabilities. We spotlight men, women and children who are
living incredible lives through the MDA SHOW of STRENGTH™, MDA’s Goodwill Ambassador program, MDA Art Collection, MDA Personal
Achievement Award, MDA National Task Force on Public Awareness, and so much
advocacy program provides a way for the million Americans affected by
neuromuscular diseases to make their voices heard regarding issues that
directly affect their lives.