In the short time I’ve served as MDA’s President and CEO, I’ve seen up close how progress in fighting muscle disease is being fueled by MDA’s mission…and leadership. Today, those affected by neuromuscular diseases experience longer life spans and improved quality of life. Decades of MDA research and clinical care investment are paying off, with more breakthroughs on the horizon.
About 300 MDA research projects were underway in 2012, with $4,200 spent every hour on the quest for better treatments and cures. More new drugs are planned in the next five years than were seen in the past 50. MDA families monitor groundbreaking clinical trials daily, some taking direct part in them.
Last year, 3,700 children attended MDA summer camps, supported by nearly 4,000 volunteer counselors…with 20,000 hot dogs served! More than 56,000 MDA clinic visits took place, while some 4,000 items were provided at no charge through MDA's equipment program.
While MDA is still in a state of financial rebound after several challenging years, we continue to rally strength impressively in local communities. In 2012, more than 30,000 participants on 5,000 teams took part in Muscle Walks, with that program’s income up 40 percent from 2011. The 300,000 members of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)—our nation’s fire fighters—surpassed their prior year “Fill the Boot” efforts by a remarkable $600,000. New partner Jiffy Lube beat its $1 million goal by a healthy margin. And our national and regional sponsor partners, including Lowe’s, CITGO Petroleum Corp. and Harley-Davidson, stayed strong for MDA families.
Whether consulting with our scientific and medical advisers, brainstorming new marketing and fundraising initiatives with our sponsors, testifying in our nation’s capital on FDA research protocols, or spending privileged time with the amazing children and adults we serve, I am deeply struck by the vibrancy and intimacy of our mission…and the passion of those who put their hearts and souls behind it.
Humble thanks are due the public who lend support throughout the year, giving online, buying Shamrocks, taking part in MDA Lock-Ups and donating to our MDA Show of Strength Telethon. MDA raised $159 million in income in 2012, the same compared to the prior year. We have big plans to grow and diversify this portfolio further, while strengthening our operational efficiencies and effectiveness.
Yes, your support of our life-enhancing and lifesaving mission helps fuel this progress we all so desperately seek to accelerate. Thank you for continuing to support MDA as we race toward breakthroughs, our sights set on a future in which muscle health, not muscle disease, will prevail.
Steven M. Derks
MDA President and CEO