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COLUMBIA - 150 mid-missourians took steps towards fighting muscular dystrophy by participating in the Muscular Dystrophy Associations Columbia muscle walk. There are other muscle walks through out the United States.
Director of Missouri MDA clinic, Doctor Raghav Gavindarajan said the walk has two purposes.
"The first purpose is to raise enough funds to do research for muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular conditions that MDA takes care of," Gavindarajan said. We definitely need alot more research."
Gavindarajan said since there is no cure patients receive sympathy.
"They don't want our sympathy," Gavindarajan said. "They want our empathy. But they want to fight the disease. To fight the disease, we need research and this walk today helps with research to find a cure."
Senior Fundraising Coordinator Jon Durney said the walk serves as a yearly family reunion.
"The second purpose of this walk is to bring families together," Gavindarajan said. "We want the families to know that they have support out there. Sometimes when you have muscular dystrophy the patients, the families, and children feel very lonely. That's not good. We have a big family and support out there."
Durney said the walk raises money and awareness for the disease.
"The funds serves families in the counties that have raised it," Durney said. "Basically, it's giving back in the ways we serve them. So by our clinic here at Mizzou." 
MDA serves patients at two clinics: a pediatric and adult clinic, ALS clinic. It also provides patients with access to a loaner closet and helps send kids to camp.
"Our camp, the kids call it the best week out of the year," Durney said.
The walk has doubled in participants since last year and hopes to continue to grow next year.
"For a while the Columbia area was down on the MDA side," Durney said. "We needed to grow it and we've grown it. We made 7,000 last year and we are inches from making our goal of 16,000 this year and we're really excited about that."
Gavindarajan said he hopes one day a muscle walk won't be necessary.
"It's very, very essential that we find cures for muscular dystrophy, spinal dystrophy and other diseases that MDA treats," Gavindarajan said. "I wish one day we don't have to have MDA walks. I wish one day we find a cure so we don't have to worry about these things.
But that's not the case and we need to keep fighting. And I know you are all here to fight so thank you for being here today."
You can donate to the Columbia Muscle walk by visiting  MDA's website. 

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