365 Challenge to cure MSD

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If you had the chance to help save a life would you do it? What if we told you it would be as easy as posting to Facebook during your birthday month?

Willow Canaan is a five-year-old girl who suffers from a rare and fatal disease known as MSD. Most children with MSD die before they reach ten-years-old. Amber Olsen, Willow’s mother, said, “The children who get it basically have like a child Alzheimer’s so their body breaks down. She used to be able to walk and run and now she can’t move. She has a feeding tube. She has major respiratory issues. You can kind of see her struggle with spit.”

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Many people on the Coast have heard about this brave little girl’s fight thanks to her family’s efforts to find a cure for MSD and to save her life. “When she was diagnosed we were told there was nothing we could do. There is no treatment. We couldn’t go to St. Jude. There was nothing going on so we found scientists from across the world who were willing to develop a treatment and next year we hope to have the first ever clinical trial for her disease.”

The only thing that is standing in the way of Willow and the treatment is the funding needed to make it happen and that’s where you can step in to help. The Cure MSD Foundation has launched the 365 Challenge which encourages everyone to ask their Facebook friends to donate to United MSD for their birthday. “So when it is your birthday time you can go on and pick any type of charity, any 501c3 to support during your birthday so you just put it out there, Facebook prompts you, so we are asking people to select the local charity Cure MSD.”

This project is called the 365 Challenge because they hope they can have one birthday fundraiser for everyday of the year. “She has very limited time left and so we have a huge sense of urgency to try and do this very quickly. One of our scientists said that brain cells are dying every day so this is not something, even though it may seem like she is stable, she is okay, every day she gets a little worse.”



For more information visit the United MSD Facebook page.