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. Â 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. Â 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!
WHY DO WE DO THIS?
Jill was diagnosed when she was two and a half with a type of MD called Spinal Muscular Atrophy: SMAÂ is aÂ genetic disease affecting the part ofÂ the nervous system that controls voluntaryÂ muscle movement.Â Most of the nerve cells that control muscles are located in the spinal cord, whichÂ accounts for the word spinal in the nameÂ of the disease. SMA is muscular, becauseÂ its primary effect is on muscles, whichÂ donâ€™t receive signals from these nerve cells.Â Atrophy is the medical term for wasting orÂ shrinkage, which is what generally happensÂ to muscles when theyâ€™re not active.Â SMA involves the loss of nerve cells calledÂ motor neurons in the spinal cord and isÂ classified as a motor neuron disease.Â Thereâ€™s a great deal of variation in theÂ scope and severity of SMA in differentÂ 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!). Â 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.