After several years of helping his grandson find treatment for muscular dystrophy (MD) and raising money to combat the disease, Wayne Turner and his wife are holding another fundraising event.
The local Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will benefit from an upcoming “Shoot for the Cure” fundraising shoot-out. Organized by Turner and his wife, the couple have been working for years to raise money in an attempt to find a cure for the disease. Their grandson, Xavier Swiger, a Miami Trace first grader, has been suffering from MD for about four years and Turner said Xavier travels regularly to Children’s Hospital. It was because of him that the family decided to form team “X-Man” to support not only Xavier but all children suffering from MD.
“There are a lot of diseases out there, cancer and diabetes for example,” Turner said. “These are bad diseases, but for the most part older people are the ones impacted by those diseases. These people have had a chance to live life in most cases. When it comes to muscular dystrophy, the majority of the time it impacts kids and they pass away before they even make it to their teens. There are a few who make it to their 20s and even fewer who make it to their 40s or 50s. Most who make it to that point though are bedridden on a ventilator. It is just no way to live.”
According to mayoclinic.org, muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. In muscular dystrophy, abnormal genes (mutations) interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle. There are many different kinds of muscular dystrophy.
Symptoms of the most common variety begin in childhood, primarily in boys. Other types don’t surface until adulthood. Some people who have muscular dystrophy will eventually lose the ability to walk. Some may have trouble breathing or swallowing. There is no cure for muscular dystrophy, but medications and therapy can help manage symptoms and slow the course of the disease.
“Most kids who suffer won’t get a chance to drive, get married, have a family, go to their first dance,” Turner said. “There are a lot of things that we take for granted. I know I may be biased since it is impacting my grandson, but it is a very awful disease. Thankfully kids are making it more often to their 20s with the disease, but still most pass away in their teens. Recently my grandson asked his mom, ‘Are my legs always going to hurt? Are they even going to hurt when I grow up?’ There is no answer to that, one of the first things that goes are legs and arms, and his legs hurt every day.”
The shoot-out will be held on June 24 (rain date set for July 1) from noon to 3 p.m. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. and the event will be held at the Fayette County Fish & Game Association at 1236 Robinson Road in Washington Court House. Shooters of all ability levels are welcome and encouraged to participate. The cost is a two-card minimum at $5 a piece for a total of $10 and the rifle will be a .22 caliber long barrel with open sights only. There are 10 shots per card and ammo is provided. Safety officers will be on-site.
Prizes will be awarded to the top three shooters. Door prizes and a 50/50 raffle will also provide patrons a chance to win some interesting items. Food and drinks will be available.
For more information, contact Turner at (740) 606-9999. Anyone wanting to make additional donations to MDA can write a check directly to the Muscular Dystrophy Association and can drop it off with Turner, who said that all donations will go to the association.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy