More than 20,000 businesses throughout the nation are expected to participate in this, the 37th annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed program to support children and adults with MD, ALS and related neuromuscular disorders.
Funds go toward scientific research and support services such as the more than 150 multidisciplinary care centers at hospitals in the U.S. They also help support the MDA’s popular summer camp, offered annually to children at no cost to their families.
“MDA Shamrocks is a simple way for consumers to give strength and transform the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases,” MDA president and CEO Lynn O’Connor Vos said in a press release.
“We are thankful for our gracious retail partners across the country who open their doors each year to help advance over 150 care centers, research to accelerate treatments and cures, and the chance for children to attend our summer camp programs at no cost to families,” she said.
Through March, customers are invited to participate by adding — for $1, $5 or larger contribution — a paper Shamrock to their purchases. Participating retailers at select locations include Albertsons Companies, Kroger, Bojangles, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Burger King, Price Chopper, Shaw’s, O’Charley’s, Starmarket, KFC, and more. Each customer signs his or her Shamrock, which is then displayed where it is purchased. The idea is to evince community strength in supporting MDA. Shamrocks program donations also may be supported online.
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In addition, corporate partners can join the “Green Day for MDA” on March 15. The effort was designed to give those who don’t have access to conventional retail outlets a way to participate in pinup drives. The day calls for participants to wear green to increase public awareness of MD, and to host fundraisers.
Since its inception, the program has collected more than $323 million. For more information about this year’s MDA Shamrock program, find participating retailers, or register for Green Day for MDA, visit mda.org/shamrocks. Or, create a #MDAShamrocks Facebook fundraiser.
The largest funder of neuromuscular disease investigations outside the federal government, the MDA has committed more than $1 billion to date to advance the discovery of therapies and cures.
In addition to its Summer Camp and network of multidisciplinary clinics, the MDA has a unique data hub — MOVR — which aggregates clinical, genetic and patient-reported data for several disorders to improve health outcomes and speed treatment development. Its Resource Center offers individualized support, and educational conferences, events and materials for families and healthcare providers. For more information, visit mda.org.
Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. In those disorders, mutations interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle. Symptoms of the most common variety begin in childhood, mostly in boys. The most common forms in children, Duchenne and Becker, affect roughly one in every 5,600 to 7,700 males ages 5 to 24, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.