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Leading the Quest for Change

For years, MDA has worked to empower people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases to reach their fullest potential. And while strides have been made through innovations in care, research, and advocacy, there is more work to do.

So this year, we’re going bigger. We’re declaring 2022 the Year of Independence.

This declaration is inspired by the experiences of MDA’s chief-of-staff, Kristine Welker, whose son lives with muscular dystrophy. After his diagnosis, she immediately noticed the lack of people with physical disability in the workplace, in magazines, and in advertising and marketing campaigns.

This prompted her to leave her career in corporate America and join MDA. Inspired by stories of how people with disability, including her own son, are finding their personal independence, she wants 2022 to be the year disability inclusion is truly accelerated.

“I learned that there is strength in unity — that if we unite in our efforts, we can create a more inclusive world and give voice to the millions of individuals who want to work, live, and thrive without distinction,” she says. “Throughout the past year, I have heard so many stories of how people with disabilities are finding their personal independence and freedom, like: Paul, living with limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD), who says he feels most independent on his boat; a mother who wanted her own son to have the freedom to wear whatever he wanted and make fashion accessible to all; and Ethan, who gained his independence by attending MDA Summer Camp.”

Kristine credits MDA with championing disability as diversity. “We will build on our legacy roots in advocacy and innovation to accelerate disability inclusion and leverage our own voice and platform,” she says.

How will MDA lead the way?

  1. We’ve expanded Quest into an adaptive lifestyle content platform. Extending beyond the pages of our flagship magazine, Quest now includes the Quest blog, Quest newsletter, and recently launched Quest podcast. All tell stories from our community, showcase what is possible, provide resources and information to empower the community, and reinforce the importance of equal access to independence.
  2. We’ve joined forces with the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and Inclusively, the online platform for job seekers, to create a DEI Coalition that will work with other Empowered Cities to help people with disabilities get into the workforce, establish best practices, encourage thoughtful and inclusive product development, and more.
  3. MDA is committed to working with the Valuable 500 to help fulfill their commitment to “use the power of business to drive lasting change for the 1.3 billion people around the world living with a disability.”
  4. We will continue to break down barriers through public policy, advocacy, and education with our new series of on-demand programming, MDA Access Workshops, providing information and resources.

To learn more about the Year of Independence, email us at deicoalition@mdausa.org with “Year of Independence—Tell Me More” in the subject line.

Disclaimer: No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. 

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