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Walk to raise funds for dystonia research

By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life

 | May 24, 2014 - 9:34 AM |
In 2013, Melanie Armstrong, centre, co-manager of the   Walmart on Lasalle Boulevard, presented employee, Dwayne Backer,   with a cheque for $4,087 made out to the Dystonia Medical   Research Foundation Canada. Mary Guy, left, Dystonia Support   Group leader, said she was thrilled Walmart supported Backer’s   efforts to raise funds for dystonia research. Supplied photo.

In 2013, Melanie Armstrong, centre, co-manager of the Walmart on Lasalle Boulevard, presented employee, Dwayne Backer, with a cheque for $4,087 made out to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Canada. Mary Guy, left, Dystonia Support Group leader, said she was thrilled Walmart supported Backer’s efforts to raise funds for dystonia research. Supplied photo.

Rare neurological disease causes painful muscle spasms

About 18 years ago Mary Guy started to blink constantly, and could not figure out the cause.

Her optometrist thought she had dry eyes and her family doctor thought it was allergies.


It took more than a year before Guy was referred to a neurologist, who diagnosed her with dystonia, a rare neurological movement disorder.

Dystonia is characterized by constant muscle spasms that can be quite painful. Guy was diagnosed with focal dystonia, because it started in her eye – it has since spread down to her neck as well.

There is no cure or known cause for the disease.

Guy said she is lucky because her case is less severe than others who have generalized dystonia, which affects the entire body.

She receives a Botox injection every two months to reduce the muscle spasms.

Guy leads Sudbury's Dystonia Support Group, where she regularly meets with other locals who have the disease, and offers them support.

She said there are at least 20 people in Sudbury with the disease, but there could be more.

On Sunday, June 8, the group put on its 17th annual Freedom to Move 5km Walk-and-Wheel for Dystonia Medical Research.

In the past two years the walk has raised $40,000 for dystonia research.

Members of the Dystonia Support Group, along with their friends and family, will gather at the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre, located at 4040 Elmview Drive in Hanmer, at 9:30 a.m. that morning.

To support the walkers, and donate funds for dystonia research, please visit www.dystoniacanada.org.
 
Jonathan Migneault

Jonathan Migneault

Staff Writer

@jmigneault

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