An estimated 1,000 people participated in the MDA Muscle Walk of Chicagoland in Westmont on May 19, raising more than $170,000 (as of Saturday) to benefit patients and families connected with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The fundraising goal is $286,000.
Temperatures were in the 60 degree range with overcast skies as walkers of all ages paraded around Ty Warner Park, 700 Blackhawk Drive, at the annual fundraiser for Chicagoland and northern Illinois.
Participants could complete two laps for two miles or choose the one-mile option.
“It’s a great event in the community,” said MDA Executive Director Sarah Coleman of Elmhurst.
“We certainly hope that one day we’ll be celebrating a cure. “A day like today really brings the community together.”
Dollars raised support MDA’s efforts to locate research breakthroughs across diseases to care for patients of all ages and to empower families in hometowns across America with services and support. Claudia Heidenreich, 10, a fourth-grader from Warren, Ill. is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.
“I feel good,” Claudia said.
Claudia’s fundraising team called “Team Claudie Hopper” had a unicorn theme this year. Claudia and her friends wore festive headbands with a unicorn decoration.
“She’s an amazing little girl,” said Christa Cook of Apple River, Ill.
Cook is the parent of Madissen Cook, 9, a third-grader who is a close friend of Claudia Heidenreich.
“They’ve known each other (Madissen and Claudia) since they were babies,” Christa Cook said.
“We’re here for Claudia.”
Team Mike, a fundraising team, which raised approaching $15,000 (as of May 19), was out to support Mike McAdam, 29, of River Forest.
Alex Hibbert, 19, of Elmwood Park, is Mike’s caregiver.
“This is a great opportunity for us to show love and care for each other,” Hibbert said. “You have all kinds of people from all over coming together. It’s also a way for all of us to show that we’re not alone, that we’re all one in this together.”
Lily Perez of Chicago is the parent of Noah Perez, 10, a fourth-grader.
“This is beautiful for him,” Noah’s mother said.
“I’m having fun,” Noah said.
Kaila Baker, 16, of Brookfield and a sophomore at Lyons Township High School, performed on flags with classmates.
“Muscular Dystrophy Association is important to me because I have a friend who suffers from the disease so I was really excited to come out here and perform,” Baker said.
Andrew Plasman, 3, of Lombard had the ribbon-cutting honors to start the walk. Andrew raced with pals past the start line when the ribbon fell.
“It’s very exciting, it’s a great event,” said Sara Plasman, Andrew’s mother.
“We’re just excited to be here.”
MDA supports 180 research projects worldwide. The average research grant costs $113,000.
MDA funds 150 care centers in the United States, five of which are in Chicago. A donation of $2,000 sends one child to MDA summer camp at no cost to their family. MDA serves more than 2,000 people in northern Illinois.
Visit the MDA web site.
— More than 1,000 participate in annual MDA Muscle Walk —