The fundraising effort, in its 11th consecutive year, has raised almost $2 million to fight Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and has grown to include more than 11,000 coaches at more than 600 schools across the country.
In addition to armbands with the traditional Coach To Cure MD logo patch football coaches will wear on the sidelines, fans will also be asked to donate to projects supported by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), the largest nonprofit in the U.S. focused solely on DMD.
“The AFCA and our members take great pride in our association with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy,” Todd Berry, AFCA’s executive director, said in a press release. “Each year, our coaches look forward to wearing the Coach to Cure MD patch so that they can help bring awareness and much needed funds to help find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.”
At many of these events, a local DMD family will be acknowledged on the field before or during the games.
To inspire more football fans to take part in this initiative, families affected by DMD will also gather for fundraising tailgate parties on campuses nationwide.
Attending a participating event is not the only way of helping the cause. Anyone can support the initiative by either going to CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word CURE to 50555 to make a $10 donation to promote the battle against DMD.
Coach To Cure MD is a partnership between the PPMD and the AFCA, a member organization with more than 11,000 members that includes coaches from the high school to the professional levels of football.
There is no cure for DMD, and current treatment options are focused on alleviating symptoms and managing complications. Initiatives like “Coach To Cure MD” have helped raise awareness to advance the process of finding a cure. Two treatments are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Exondys 51 (eteplirsen) and Emflaza (deflazacort), which reduce muscle weakness, improve muscle strength, and slow the progression of disability in DMD.
“Football is a team sport. It requires the unique skill set of each individual player and coach in order for a team to be successful. Similarly with Duchenne, it will take a community of researchers, scientists, clinicians, industry partners, and of course families, to find treatments and stop the progression of this devastating disease. We couldn’t fight this fight without the ongoing commitment of every coach in the AFCA,” said Pat Furlong, founding president and CEO of PPMD.
According to the press release, thanks to all the people involved, including the coaches, teams and families, the program has seen a more than 300 percent increase in participation since it began in 2008.
“The awareness raised for Duchenne has been nothing short of incredible, and we continue to raise more money every year as a result. Because of the dedication of all the coaches who wear a patch in honor of our families and thanks to college football fans nationwide, we continue to move closer to the day we end Duchenne. Thank you for joining our team and helping us tackle Duchenne this September 29,” Furlong said.