Muscular Dystrophy Association History

Muscular Dystrophy Association started as far back as the 1950s. At that time there was very little information available on muscular dystrophy, much less efforts on fighting the disease. It was then that a group of individuals affected by muscular dystrophy and parents of children with the disease decided to create the MDA. They believed that there are no incurable diseases. The problem is in finding a cure and treatment for them. This became their main philosophy and has been adapted by the MDA over the years. Over the years, the agency has gained more and more members and supporters that it soon became a nationwide agency. It was originally called Muscular Dystrophy Associations of American but was renamed only as Muscular Dystrophy Association in the 70s.

The MDA gained more supporters and members because of its nationwide telethon. It debuted in 1966 Labor Day Weekend in a New York television station and was hosted by Jerry Lewis. Lewis was its national chairman since it was organized in 1950. The telethon was successful in gaining the support of the public that it was able to raise more than one million dollars in its debut. The telethon is a very important part of the success of the MDA since its debut in 1966. In 1998 it was shown across the globe through the internet. It was the first of its type of show to be broadcasted worldwide. The fundraising success of the telethon is mainly because of Lewis' "one dollar more" goal. Every year, the show encourages everyone to beat the previous year's donation by at least one dollar more than the last year's total. Almost every year the donations are higher and as of 2010 the total was $58.9 million. Due to the support of the public and other private organizations and entities, the MDA has about 230 affiliated hospitals and clinics that provide diagnosis and treatment to individuals with muscular dystrophy.


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