12th Basket Bash for Dystonia is Last Hurrah at Historic Chicago Restaurant


The 12th Annual Chicago Basket Bash took place October 29 to raise funds in support of the DMRF’s mission to cure dystonia. Beth Farber, husband Steve Laser, and parents Joel and Harriett Farber organize the Basket Bash in honor and memory of sister and daughter Shari Farber Tritt who developed dystonia at age eight. Since 2005, the family has made the Basket Bash a family tradition, raising more than $100,000 for medical research. The Basket Bash was the final event held at the historic Monastero’s Ristorante & Banquets, which is closing after 55 years in business.

The Farbers have volunteered on behalf of the DMRF by providing support to affected individuals and families, speaking at DMRF events, and traveling to Washington, DC to educate Members of Congress on the needs of the dystonia community. In September, U.S. Congressperson Jan Schakowsky of Illinois once again acknowledged Dystonia Awareness Month in the Congressional Record on behalf of the Farber Family and the DMRF.

The Farbers persevered alongside Shari through several misdiagnoses, multiple brain surgeries, and ultimately an accident that caused Shari to pass away unexpectedly in 2010 at age 45. Shari had become a well-known and beloved personality in the dystonia community after appearing in the 2006 documentary film, Twisted.

Among the most dedicated Chicago Basket Bash supporters are siblings Sam (13) and Dani (10) Fingard of Chicago, who work-year round to solicit prizes while promoting dystonia awareness. Sam successfully solicited some of this year’s biggest items, including two roundtrip tickets from Southwest Airlines. Dani sells homemade play slime on Instagram and enjoys going door-to-door to invite neighborhood businesses to support the event. Sam and Dani also serve as runners at the Basket Bash, helping to distribute prizes to winners.

The Farbers, like so many extraordinary families that support the DMRF, are committed unconditionally to finding a cure. In the meantime, they continue to celebrate Shari’s life and legacy by volunteering year round on behalf of the greater dystonia community.

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. Conservative estimates suggest no fewer than 250,000 Americans are affected.

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.

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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.