Freeholders Raise Dystonia Awareness
The Board of Chosen Freeholders has proclaimed June 1 through June 7, 2009 as “Dystonia Awareness Week” in Monmouth County and joined with members of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation to provide public support to find causes and a cure for this devastating disorder.
“Anyone who has symptoms of dystonia or a relative, friend, or loved one with dystonia understands the implications of living with the disorder on a daily basis,” Freeholder Director Barbara J. McMorrow said. “Some people inherit dystonia or have it because of another disease, and while there are those who can maintain a relatively normal lifestyle, others are permanently hindered, struggling in wheelchairs or with crutches or needing full-time assistance. This proclamation supports increasing the public awareness of this disease and finding a cure.”
Dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary spasms and muscle contractions which may affect a part of the body or the entire body. There are approximately 13 forms of dystonia, and approximately 50 diseases and conditions include dystonia as a major symptom.
According to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Web site, it is estimated that approximately 300,000 people in North America are affected; that is a larger portion of the population than those who suffer from better known conditions such as Muscular Dystrophy or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
In 2007, the national Dystonia Medical Research Foundation awarded the county a “Community Partnership Award” for the Division on Aging, Disabilities & Veterans’ Interment Affairs active role in spreading awareness and educating the public about dystonia.