Original Dystonia Zoo Walk Marks 6th Year


On September 23, Karen Flanagan and family members partnered with the DMRF to host the 6th Annual Dystance4Dystonia Zoo Walk to promote dystonia awareness and raise funds for research. Karen created this event with the support of mother Jane Ann Flanagan and aunt Gale Flanagan. Movement disorder specialist Dr. David Riley provided remarks. Cleveland is one of a dozen cities to support a Dystonia Zoo Walk in 2017.

“I never heard of dystonia until I was diagnosed with it in my left hand nineteen years ago,” explains Karen. “Over the years my symptoms continued to develop, severely affecting my mobility and speech. Today, dystonia affects my whole body.”

Karen is affected by rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism, a rare movement disorder that is characterized by an abrupt onset of symptoms that are frequently misdiagnosed. Symptoms can affect the face, limbs, and speech. Karen’s symptoms began at age 20.

“This affects every moment of my daily life, preventing me from living my life the way I thought I would,” she explains. “I have involuntary muscle movements along with Parkinson’s symptoms often referred to as ‘freezing.’ I am unable to move when this occurs.”

The DMRF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing research for improved dystonia treatments and ultimately a cure, promoting awareness, and supporting the well-being of affected individuals and families. The DMRF can be reached at 800-377-3978 or www.dystonia-foundation.org.

Accelerating Research & Inspiring Hope

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