Grammy-winning multiplatinum artist Juice Newton is performing at Sycuan Casino on Feb.19 for a very special event to raise funds and awareness for Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF), which is working to find a cure and assist families dealing with the debilitating neurological disorder.
With hits like "Break It to Me Gently" and "Queen of Hearts," Newton is a veteran in telling stories of the heart, and the perfect performer for an evening like this. SoundDiego caught up with the founder of the Dystonia Foundation, Martha Murphy, to find out more about the reason behind the event and how we can help.
Nada Alic: Can you tell me a little bit about dystonia?
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Martha Murphy: Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes various muscle groups in the body to spasm and contract involuntarily. It's caused by a malfunction in the basal ganglia portion of the brain that controls movement. It can affect the muscles of the neck, eyelids, hands, arms, legs, face and vocal cords. It can be quite debilitating and can strike children and adults of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. It's estimated to affect at least 300,000 persons in North America alone, although the actual number is probably much higher, since many individuals are misdiagnosed or remain undiagnosed ... sometimes for many years. Treatments such as oral medications, botulinum toxin therapy and surgery are available, but there is, as of yet, no cure.
NA: How did you come to choose Juice Newton to perform for the event?
MM: The president of the Juice Newton Fan Club has a form of dystonia that affects his vocal cords, making speaking difficult. When Juice learned of this, she asked what she could do to help. This will be the third benefit concert she's done for us, with the other two having been in 2006 and 2009. She is a very generous and talented entertainer.
NA: What do you hope to get out of the event?
MM: We hope to raise the level of awareness about a mostly unknown movement disorder that is third in line after tremor and Parkinson’s disease. We also hope to raise a significant amount of money to fund dystonia research so that more new and innovative treatments can be developed and that we will be closer to finding a cure! In 2009, we raised close to $12,000, and we hope to top that amount in 2012.
NA: What can people do to help?
MM: We hope that everyone will purchase tickets and come to this exciting and inspirational show. If someone cannot attend but wishes to make a charitable, tax-deductible donation please have them contact Martha Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-582-1961 for further information. A receipt will be issued for tax purposes. To find out more about our support group, visit www.dystoniaofsandiego.com To learn more about the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) visit www.dystonia-foundation.org and to learn more about the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (NSDA) visit www.dysphonia.org
To buy your tickets for the benefit, go here.