Catch the 15th Annual ‘Coach to Cure MD’ Event on Sept. 24 for Duchenne

PPMD again teams up with college football coaches to raise research funding

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by Mary Chapman |

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15th annual Coach to Cure MD event | Muscular Dystrophy News | illustration of hands-in collaboration

The beginning of a new college football season also means it’s time for Coach to Cure MD (CTCMD) — a campaign aimed at calling attention to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and raising research funds for a cure.

Slated for Sept. 24, the 15th annual event is a Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) initiative that began with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and now includes most major college coaches, in all divisions.

The PPMD is the largest national nonprofit devoted exclusively to DMD, the most common type of muscular dystrophy, a group of progressive disorders that affect the muscles. The AFCA is a professional organization for college and high school football coaches and staff members, and counts more than 10,000 members.

“Our 15-year partnership with football coaches is making a difference in raising awareness, to help keep moving us closer to a cure for Duchenne,” Pat Furlong, PPMD’s founding president and CEO, said in a press release. “The Duchenne community appreciates having hundreds of football coaches on our side.”

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Each season, on one football Saturday, AFCA coaches nationwide support Coach to Cure MD by, among other efforts, sporting CTCMD armbands and mentioning the campaign during media interviews.

The coaches also use social media to educate fans about the effort, and invite Duchenne families to their campuses. The PPMD is providing a media kit with more participation suggestions that include sample tweets and public addresses.

Fans are invited to participate in the event by texting “CURE” to 501501 to donate $25, or by contributing on this site to honor a favorite coach. Football fans of all ages are also encouraged to promote the effort on their social media platforms, using the hashtag #TackleDuchenne.

Other ways to participate include creating a fundraising page and hosting an event such as a tailgate or house party. Supporters also may become Coach to Cure MD ambassadors by filling out this survey. Team captains will try to match ambassadors with area schools.

“Football coaches are dedicated to the development of young people, and our coaches are always proud to stand with the brave individuals battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Todd Berry, AFCA executive director.

Over the past decade, Coach to Cure MD has raised more than $2.1 million to fight Duchenne, which is thought to affect 1 in 5,000 live male births.

The AFCA joined CTCMD in this fundraising effort in 2008 in part due to parallels between Duchenne, which affects muscle strength, and college football players, who rely on such strength to play the game.