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FOOTBALL: WL Central, KLAA taking part in Coach To Cure MD on Friday night

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In 2008, Walled Lake Central assistant coach Jeff Penrod and his family were told that his son, Joseph, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease in which there is no cure, the Penrod’s and the Central coaching staff immediately became proactive towards raising money to help fund research.

Penrod and Central head coach Bob Meyer came up with a plan to join Coach to Cure MD’s yearly efforts to help find a cure and pitched the idea to the rest of the football coaches in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association and since then, Coach To Cure MD has continued to grow nationwide.

On Friday night, Walled Lake Central and the rest of the KLAA will once again be taking part in the Coach to Cure MD weekend while joining high school and college football teams from around the country.

Penrod said that the main goal for Coach to Cure remains the same as it has in years past, which is to continue to continue to inform and raise money for research for the disease.

“There are two pieces to coach to cure,” Penrod said. “One is awareness, we want to spread the word about the disease, and the need for raising funds for research and they’ve done a great job with that. The other is obviously money, the texting campaign and the general collection that we do every year.”

Just one in every 3,500 male children is affected by Duchenne and over 20,000 new cases are discovered every year. While boys are the most affected by the disease, Duchenne can affect any gender or race. Males who have been diagnosed with Duchenne usually live into their late twenties and the disease causes muscles to weaken because of problems with the lungs and heart.

If you would like to make a donation to Coach to Cure MD, you can text the word “CURE” to 90999 for a charge of five dollars.

Coach To Cure MD is a partnership between Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), and the American Football Coaches Association which includes more than 10,000 coaches throughout the country. PPMD IS the largest non-profit organization in the country concentrated solely on raising money and awareness for Duchenne.

Since joining the cause a few years ago, the number of schools involved with Coach to Cure MD has grown from 188 three years ago, to over 550 schools in 2012.

Meyer noted that while there has been plenty of growth nationwide, he has seen the community in and around Central continue to keep Coach to Cure MD at the top of the list of causes that they focus on throughout the year.

“Within the KLAA, almost every team is on board and producing for the cause and they’re doing it out of the kindness of their hearts, not just for the Penrod’s but for kids everywhere,” he said. “So I think a lot of awareness has spread and over the last couple of years, we’ve had more and more causes come to the forefront, and it isn’t moving away, it’s still there on the forefront with the other deserving causes.”

Along with joining Coach to Cure MD, Penrod and his wife, Marissa created a non-profit organization, Team Joseph as their way to continue to raise money towards researching Duchenne.

Jeff Penrod noted that with the help from complete strangers, who have volunteered in a variety of ways, Team Joseph has continued to grow over the course of the past few years and now they have been able to fund research at universities like Harvard and Michigan.

“There have been an army of volunteers, my wife is the leader of that, she’s the full-time CEO,” he said. “She runs it 24 hours per day and because of her and all of the volunteers that we have and there are people who are absolute strangers who have volunteered.It’s getting bigger and bigger and now we’re really able to fund some things at various places, like U-of-M and at Harvard, to really get some research moving.”

To learn more about Coach To Cure MD, visit coachtocuremd.org or to learn more about Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy visit ParentProjectMD.org. To learn more about Team Joseph or to donate, visit TeamJoseph.info.

Last Updated: 9/26/2012 7:34:54 PM EST

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