'Stride & Ride' to help fight muscular dystrophy

Eric Heisig

Issue date: 9/28/06 Section: News
A local event is scheduled to take place this week to help find a cure for muscular dystrophy.

On Saturday Sept. 30, the First Annual Bloomington-Normal Stride & Ride will be held to help aid research for families affected by muscular dystrophy in central Illinois.

"The idea for the Stride & Ride came because years ago they called it The Great Walk.

"What they found is a lot of children that have neuromuscular diseases?were actually riding the path in their wheelchairs," Melissa Chumbley, the program coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for Central Illinois, said.

Chumbley explained that the event is a two-mile walk in Tipton Park in Bloomington. It will begin at Tipton Park North and is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Following the walk, there will be a complimentary lunch. Activities, including crafts and music continue until 3 p.m.

Each participant over the age of 13 must raise a minimum of $65. Children 12 and under can raise a minimum of $15 to be a part of the walk.

According to Chumbley, there is a symbolic reason behind the $65 donation.

"That's one minute of research. Without our research, we can't find the cures," Chumbley said.

Chumbley added that participants can go door to door to get donations, or use another option.

Students can use a system called a called a "moola Web site," where people can register with information, and the computer creates a webpage with the information given.

She said she is expecting about 50 to 100 people this year because it is the first year the event is taking place.

Hopefully from year to year, she said, it will grow.

Many of the people this walk is raising money for will be present at the event on Saturday, one of which will be Elizabeth Hallam.

"[Hallam] is the ambassador for the MDA. She has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It is a group of inherited and sometimes fatal diseases that destroys the nerves that control voluntary movement," Jeanna Huette, the grandmother of Elizabeth, said.

According to Huette, the disease is the top genetic killer of children under two years old.

"One in 6,000 babies is afflicted with SMA, and 50 percent of those diagnosed before the age of two will die before their first birthday," Huette said.

Hallam will exceed expectations given by doctors, by turning three this Friday.

The doctors that diagnosed Elizabeth in Peoria said to take her home and love her, there's nothing they can do for her," Huette added.

Those interested in the event can visit http://www.mdaevents.org/peoria/bloomingtonstrideandride.