Local resident Megan Gonyer and her mother, Amy Heaton have formed a team to participate in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Muscle Walk on March 23rd. The Walk is in Dublin, Ohio from 10:00 am until 1:00pm.
Megan & Olivia
Megan is a 2003 NBHS graduate, and lives in North Baltimore with her daughter Olivia.
Megan was diagnosed in 2002 with Friedreich’s Ataxia, which is a form of muscular dystrophy.
What is Friedreich’s Ataxia?
First described by German physician Nikolaus Friedreich in 1863, Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) is a neuromuscular disease that mainly affects the nervous system and the heart.
FA affects about one in 50,000 people worldwide, making it the most common in a group of related disorders called hereditary ataxias. It shouldn’t be confused with a group of diseases known as autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxias.
What are the symptoms of FA?
FA's major neurological symptoms include muscle weakness and ataxia, a loss of balance and coordination. FA mostly affects the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves that connect the spinal cord to the body’s muscles and sensory organs.
FA also affects the function of the cerebellum, a structure at the back of the brain that helps plan and coordinate movements. (It doesn’t affect the parts of the brain involved in mental functions, however.)
FA's effects on the heart range from mild abnormalities to life-threatening problems in the heart’s musculature.
What causes FA?
FA is a hereditary disease, caused by a defective gene that can be passed down through a family. Mutations in the gene that carries instructions for a protein called frataxin result in diminished energy production in cells, including those of the nervous system and heart.
What is the MDA Muscle Walk?
The MDA Muscle Walk is a local walk event that pays tribute to children and adults with muscular dystrophy, while raising funds to support MDA’s missions of help and hope.
The walks are family-oriented gatherings that are open and accessible to everyone — children, adults, grandparents, students, corporate teams and more.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy, education and a summer camp program.
For more information: mda.org/musclewalk
A Personal Message from Megan Gonyer
Hi everyone! I was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia in 2002. I have since then been fighting to stay on my feet and although I normally use my wheelchair, I am still able to a lot of standing thanks to support from my family, friends, and doctors. I thank you all for your support, monetary or otherwise. Thank You!
Megan says only she and her mom are on the walking team as of now, but she is trying to recruit a few more walkers. Both she and her mom are trying to raise money for the event. Please contact Megan directly (419-957-2462) if you would like to support her efforts. She will accept cash, checks (made out to MDA) or can give you a link for on-line donations.