The Muscular Dystrophy Association today introduced its first social networking Web site, myMDA, designed to provide people with muscle diseases, their families, friends and caregivers with a means to share experiences, exchange helpful tips and resources, and cultivate new friendships. myMDA is located at www.mda.org/mymda. MDA has carefully tended its various informational Web sites since the mid-1990s, and expects that expanding its online presence through social networking will provide those it serves with a new way to find support, information and encouragement. “What tipped us in favor of creating myMDA was the benefit to the people we serve,” MDA President & CEO Gerald Weinberg said. “The fact that people with muscular dystrophy and related diseases wanted to communicate more frequently with each other, even beyond the 240 support groups we provide nationwide, really told us something.”
myMDA features a number of social networking tools — such as creating ‘friends,’ participating in message boards, blogging and photo/video uploading — that allow an online community
to become connected and grow. MDA expects that the people it serves, as well as families and friends, will be especially eager to connect through myMDA so they can further share problems, solutions and life experiences. Users must register to use the free service and be at least 18 years old. “Having a muscle disease can be isolating,” Weinberg noted, “and families can be in a quandary about how to solve specific issues – where to find a reliable resource, helpful tips for making daily care easier, recipes that allow easy swallowing, how to cost-efficiently remodel a home for easy access and suggestions for funding resources.
“Our Web sites offer a lot of that kind of information,” Weinberg said, “but we know that the families we serve will have even more to share with each other, in very detailed ways. Plus, social networking provides a great opportunity to make new friends among an empathetic group of people. That’s why myMDA’s theme is Strength in Community.” The Association’s primary site is www.mda.org, which gets about 8,000 visits per day, while information specifically about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is available at www.als-mda.org MDA also has a Spanish-language Web site, www.mdaenespanol.org. MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat muscular dystrophy and related diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services, advocacy, and farreaching professional and public health education. The Association’s programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors. [Source: myMDA]