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Beverage Distributor Continues Tradition of Support for MDA

May 20, 2008
For nearly 60 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has worked to defeat neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services, and far-reaching professional and public health education. MDA was founded in 1950 and awarded its first research grant to Dr. Ade Milhorat, a pioneer of modern muscular dystrophy research.

More than one million Americans are affected by neuromuscular diseases and about 250,000 have some form of muscular dystrophy. As the largest nongovernmental sponsor of neuromuscular disease research, the MDA is also the first nonprofit agency to be recognized by the American Medical Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award for "significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity."

MDA's most recognized fundraising tradition is the annual televised Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. The first-ever Telethon, broadcast in 1966 by just one station in New York City, was the first televised fund-raising event of its kind to raise more than $1 million in pledges. To date, some 250,000 volunteers across the country are involved in the Telethon each Labor Day weekend. In 2007, Lewis ended his 42nd Telethon with a record-setting $63.8 million in donations and pledges.

For many companies and individuals, St. Patrick's Day is also becoming a traditional holiday for fundraising for the MDA. CITY Beverage-Bloomington, Illinois, an Anheuser-Busch distributor, has collected life-saving funds for the MDA for more than 20 years via its retailers and their consumers. Throughout the long-standing spring event, retail customers make a donation for the honor of writing their names on paper shamrocks posted throughout the stores.

"The leprechauns at CITY Beverage-Bloomington spread their green shamrocks throughout the city in hopes of making a difference in children's lives," explained Maranda Trainor, TITLE and project coordinator. "We are proud of CITY's involvement with this outstanding program and delighted to know that all funds collected stay in our community."

With the help of generous retailers and consumers, the Bloomington sales team raised more than $6,500 in 2007. The well-motivated team well exceeded their initial goal of $5,000.

Continuing support such as this enables the MDA to facilitate various community programs throughout the United States. For instance, each summer, MDA sends more than 4,200 kids with neuromuscular disease to nearly 90 MDA summer camps across the country. The camps are a magical place where year-round skills are developed and where a child with a disability can just be a kid. In addition to knowledgeable camp staff and medical personnel, most campers have his or her own one-on-one volunteer, who helps with all aspects of both fun and personal care.

Each camp provides a range of activities especially designed for young people who have limited mobility or use wheelchairs. Accessible activities range from outdoor sports like swimming to less physically demanding programs such as arts and crafts. Special guests such as firefighters and Harley Davidson riders add to the enjoyment.

Other programs such as the MDA Art Collection and National Task Force on Public Awareness provide a voice to adults and children with disabilities, specifically those affected by neuromuscular diseases.
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Soave Enterprises is a privately held, Detroit-based company with holdings in dozens of companies. Its substantial financial and managerial resources bring strength to these entities.
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