Iowa Dog Lovers Unite for Dystonia Awareness


The Dogs for Dystonia Dog Walk on October 7 in Marion, Iowa invited dog lovers to celebrate the important role dogs play in people’s lives, and particularly those impacted by dystonia. Organizer of the event, Sheila Killham, is one of hundreds of volunteers throughout the country who are working to raise dystonia awareness and funds for research. Proceeds from the Dog Walk benefit the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF).

Sheila is a former veterinary technician whose career ended due to dystonia. The symptoms began several years ago with spasms in her vocal cord muscles and progressed to her neck, legs, and feet. The symptoms impact her speech, swallowing, and mobility. Killham leads the East Central Iowa Corridor Dystonia Support Group in partnership with the DMRF to support others impacted by dystonia in the area.

Dystonia is characterized by extreme, involuntary muscle contractions that result in twisting, repetitive muscle movements and abnormal postures of the body and limbs. There are many manifestations of dystonia that impact people of all ages and backgrounds. Common signs include twisting or abnormal movements of the head and neck, excessive blinking, a breathy or choking voice, hand cramps, or a twisted foot. Dogs have a special role in the dystonia community as pets as well as service animals.

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation 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.

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.