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At MDA, we are beginning 2016 with families at the heart of our mission – literally. The heart in the middle of our refreshed logo symbolizes the kids and adults living with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening diseases we fight for every day. We also begin the year with new offerings and enhancements to help the families we serve live longer and grow stronger.


This year, you will see a number of new and improved services to help provide better care and accelerate progress for our families:


  • This spring, we will introduce our first national MDA Family Resource Center that individuals can call to obtain one-on-one information and support from MDA specialists. From providing disease-specific information to assistance with finding local resources, we will be here to guide families through every step of their journey.
  • We will add to the more than $1 billion we’ve invested to date in research aimed at accelerating therapy development.
  • We will implement enhanced standards of care at all MDA Care Centers (formerly known as MDA Clinics), because early diagnosis, highly specialized care and access to promising clinical trials help ensure the best possible outcomes for families.
  • We are evaluating our offerings for teens and young adults and plan to improve and expand support for individuals transitioning into adulthood and living independently.
  • After surveying thousands of families, supporters and Americans, we have launched a revitalized MDA brand reflective of the needs and desires you have told us you want and expect from MDA.


This summer, we will launch a new campaign called Live Unlimited to unite consumers, companies and everyday Americans to help MDA families break free of limits.


While focused on finding urgent solutions today, we also have a long-term plan to fuel future discovery and impact. With a new strategic plan in place, we intend to achieve the following mission goals for our families by 2020:


CURE: Double our research spend on drug development and clinical trials to bring more treatments and cures to families.


CARE: Provide care and support for 50,000 more families — a 50 percent increase over the number of families registered with MDA today.


CHAMPION: Fund 20,000 kids at MDA Summer Camp at no cost to families as we expand our offerings for young adults.


Our families inspire us every day as they break down barriers with remarkable can-do spirits — whether it’s crossing the street in a wheelchair, graduating from college or even skydiving. The courage our families show in defying limits is the inspiration behind MDA’s revitalized brand.


I’m also proud to announce that Joe Akmakjian, a 24-year-old marketing specialist in Fort Collins, Colorado, and MDA volunteer extraordinaire, will serve as MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador and family spokesman for 2016. This is the first time in our history a young adult is in this role, marking a new era in our work and signifying the progress we are making together.


Thank you for your passion and partnership as we work together for strength, independence and life, as it says in our new tagline. I’m thrilled to be working together with you as we pursue our goals of freeing kids and adults from the harmful effects of muscular dystrophy and muscle-debilitating diseases. And I know with your help, one day, we will eradicate these diseases altogether.


Steven Derks

MDA President & CEO


Helping Kids and Adults live Longer & Grow Stronger

Take Action to Help Families Live Unlimited

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