Healthy Living: Daughter on a mission to raise awareness about mother's disorder
Multiple System Atrophy or MSA is not too common, affecting four in 100,000 people worldwide. The daughter of one woman afflicted with the disorder is on a mission to raise more awareness about it. YNN's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
67-year-old Dorothy Cunningham planned to spend her golden years traveling with her husband. But she's finding even the most simple tasks a challenge.
"It’s even hard to stand in the bathroom to wash my face," she says. "I have to have a chair in the bathroom, just for a minute."
Cunningham was recently diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy or MSA, a rare degenerative neurological disorder. MSA progresses rapidly and affects balance and muscle coordination. It can also impact speech, vision, bladder function and the ability to swallow and breathe.
"Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I'll think about what this disease is doing to my mom," says Dorothy's daughter, Regina.
It's been a long road for Cunningham's family. It took five years to get the MSA diagnosis.
"Many medical professionals have not heard of it so that’s why she was being misdiagnosed or not diagnosed," Regina says.
There is no cure for MSA. The average age of onset is 50 and life expectancy is 7 to 10 years.
In honor of her mother, Regina wears a purple bracelet to raise awareness about MSA and hands out information about the disease. And in recognition of World MSA Day on Wednesday, Oct. 3, she and her sister plan to run a half marathon .
"Maybe I can help spread the word so more people will know and maybe we can get some funding for this disease," Regina says.
"For her to raise awareness, it might not help me but it might help somebody later, I hope," Dorothy says.
For more information on MSA, go online to msaawareness.org.