FEB, 2011 – Today I signed up to be on THE NERDY BIRDS which is Jill Pantozzi’s team for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s 2011 Muscle Walk.  Jill has listened to me cry or read my text messages at 2 a.m. whenever I needed her. Plus she’s been a sturdy backbone in my own fundraising efforts for domestic violence victims. It’s my turn to try and repay the kindness and I’m hoping you, Dear Reader, take the time to pay it forward as well. This year’s event will be at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on March 12, 2011.  That gives our fans about a month to donate to THE NERDY BIRDS team and we truly appreciate all that you can do for us!


Tony Orlando & Jill Pantozzi

Jill was diagnosed when she was two and a half with a type of MD called Spinal Muscular Atrophy: SMA is a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. Most of the nerve cells that control muscles are located in the spinal cord, which accounts for the word spinal in the name of the disease. SMA is muscular, because its primary effect is on muscles, which don’t receive signals from these nerve cells. Atrophy is the medical term for wasting or shrinkage, which is what generally happens to muscles when they’re not active. SMA involves the loss of nerve cells called motor neurons in the spinal cord and is classified as a motor neuron disease. There’s a great deal of variation in the scope and severity of SMA in different people (MDA/SMA pdf).

One personal story that is a serious thorn in my side is how we could NOT get a handicap accessible cab in New York City during Comic-Con 2010. I remember the days when you could just call for a cab. Apparently, that’s no longer done in NYC. But even so, there used to be a special number to call specifically for people with special needs which used to be able to get an accessible cab to a certain location; even if you had to wait an hour, you knew someone would be coming for you. Not anymore! I tried hailing accessible cabs in Times Square while dressed as Amazonia and I failed miserably. Services like this are being cut left and right because of government budget constraints which trickle down to less money for services, charities, and the people who spend their money in the city. I get more than a little irate talking about this. How can it be impossible to get an accessible taxi cab in NEW YORK CITY? It’s “the” land of cabs! Ok, my rant is over and hopefully you see my point.


As a team, we’d like to raise $2,500. Last year the event raised over $140,000! You can DONATE specifically through me as one of the team members which gets cumulated into our team goal.

If you can’t donate at this time, we understand. All of us have been in tight times financially and there are so many causes that require personal contributions when the government can’t help. Please do what you can to spread the word. You can LIKE the MDA Muscle Walk on FACEBOOK as one example and share our links.

Although this is an incredibly serious subject, Jill & I can prove that fundraising can be fun. I’ve been with her at the Jerry Lewis Telethon where I got to meet all her celebrity friends and watch Ryan Star perform (oh my!).  Plus when it comes charity appearances at Comic Fusion, you can see us dressed as comic book characters like Wonder Woman and Zatanna.

If you’re further interested in learning about Muscular Dystrophy you can visit the MDA.org site and find all kinds of information. The MDA also has its own YouTube Channel for highlight reels of the telethons and other fundraisers.

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5 Comments on MARCH 12, 2011 is the MDA Muscle Walk – Please Help

  1. I donated last night (it would’ve been more, Amber, but I got into a pretty scary car accident last week and have had some unexpected expenses pop up as a result). Still, I wanted to post to encourage anybody who might be sitting on the fence to go ahead and donate! You can donate as much or as little as you want…and you just might change somebody’s entire life for the better in doing so. I can think of a lot worse ways to spend a few bucks.

      • I’m pretty sore and won’t have the car back for a few days…but all in all, I’m just glad I’m alive (how many guys do you know that’ve survived a collision with a front-end loader?).

        More importantly (and on topic), I’m more than happy to support you and Jill. While I’ve never had the pleasure to meet Ms. Pantozzi, I follow her on the web similar to how I follow you (not in a creepy way, either!) and so, I’m fond of the both of you. If I have even an inkling that I helped her, when they eventually find a cure, it’ll be all the thanks I need. 🙂

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