3rd Annual Bronx Zoo Walk Raises Funds & Awareness to Cure Dystonia


500 people gathered at the 3rd Annual Dystonia Bronx Zoo Walk in support of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation on September 10. Participants included the local medical community, people living with dystonia and their families. DMRF Board Member Pamela Sloate, who recently underwent deep brain stimulation (DBS) for her dystonia, organized and hosted the event. Neurosurgeon Dr. Brian Kopell from Mount Sinai Hospital provided remarks. DBS is a neurosurgical procedure used to treat a variety of neurological disorders, including movement disorders such as dystonia. Electrodes are implanted in the area of the brain associated with dystonia, and battery-powered stimulators — essentially brain pacemakers — are surgically implanted in the chest to deliver electrical stimulation to the brain. As a result of this procedure, the twisting motions in Pamela’s legs and feet have disappeared and she no longer uses a walker.

Dystonia is characterized by persistent or intermittent muscle contractions causing abnormal, often repetitive, movements, postures, or both. The movements are usually patterned and twisting, and may resemble a tremor. There are multiple forms of dystonia, and dozens of diseases and conditions may include dystonia as a symptom. No fewer than 300,000 people are affected in the United States and Canada.

The Bronx Zoo Walk raised awareness of dystonia and raised funds for medical research. Allergan, Columbia University Medical Center, Ipsen, Medtronic, Merz, Mount Sinai Hospital, Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, US WorldMeds, WellCare Health Plans, and Whole Foods sponsored the event. Bella Face Painting, Fat Witch Bakery, Funster Entertainment, Kids Party Characters, KIND Snacks, and Selffee also supported the Bronx Zoo Walk.

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The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) has served the dystonia community since 1976. Join us in our global effort to find a cure.