Thursday, September 18, 2014

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Campaign helps families affected by muscular dystrophy

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Albany/HV: Campaign helps families affected by muscular dystrophy
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Grabbing a coffee at Dunkin' Donuts today? If so, don't forget to donate to their "Make a Muscle, Make a Difference" campaign. From now until Sunday, restaurants are collecting money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Our Megan Cruz spoke to a local family who says those donations give their kids a chance to live.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- It's Wednesday morning at the Frolish house. Thirteen-year-old Peter wakes up, gets changed, and brushes his teeth.

Sounds like a usual morning routine, but actually, what seems simple isn't.

"He has to be changed, transferred from bed to shower to wheelchair," said Peter's dad Alex.

Not only is Peter autistic, but he also has a form of muscular dystrophy called Duchenne's. So does his 12-year-old-brother Philip. Both were diagnosed before they were one, in wheelchairs by age 10.

"The muscle cells don't hold together as well so the muscle will turn into fatty tissue so over time they'll break down," said Alex. "The life expectancy for a child with Duchenne's used to be age 15-21, but that was 15-20 years ago. You look at now with the advancements they've made, there's more and more children becoming young adults."

That's why he says donating to the Muscular Dystrophy Association is so important.

In the greater Capital Region, 1,500 families are living with a form of the disease.

"Every dollar raised helps us fund essential health care services," said Muscular Dystrophy Association representative Liz Hutson. "The medical equipment repairs that we fund for local families and last but not least, the money we put toward research."

And from now until Sunday, it's easy to donate: just head to your local Dunkin' Donuts.

"Those are people that are in our community. We have people that are affected within our organization," said John LeMay, a director of operations for Dunkin' Donuts.

In just two days, LeMay's 26 stores alone raised close to $5,000.

And not only does that money go to research. It also goes to programs like Double H Ranch.

"A way for these guys to feel normal," said Alex.

But Frolish says every dollar donated makes his sons' difficult lives simpler. He's in awe of the generosity of strangers.

"Give them the best fighting chance they have to be there long enough for a cure to be found," he said.

There are 43 different kinds of muscular dystrophy.

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