Coach to Cure MD Hits Home for Pace Alumnus

Pace Coaches Sport Cure for MD Patches (Courtesy of Pace Athletics)

Pace Coaches Sport “Cure for MD Patches” (Courtesy of Pace Athletics)

James Best and Michelle Ricciardi

The Pace University Football team joined the effort to fight Muscular Dystrophy on Saturday afternoon during their game against New Haven.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), “Muscular dystrophy (MD) refers to a group of more than 30 genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and degeneration of skeletal muscles used during voluntary movement. Some types of MD also affect the heart, gastrointestinal system, endocrine glands, spine, eyes, brain, and other organs. Respiratory and cardiac diseases may occur, and some people may develop a swallowing disorder.”

Pace coaches sported Coach to Cure MD patches on their shirts on the field to spread awareness about the disease, which affects thousands of people around the world.

MD is caused by an inherited gene mutation in “one of the thousands” of proteins that are responsible for muscle integrity. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “[MD] occurs worldwide, affecting all races. Its incidence varies, as some forms are more common than others. Its most common form in children, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, affects approximately 1 in every 3,500 to 6,000 male births each year in the United States.”

Peter Kearney, a Pace alumnus, and his wife Eileen experience this disease as the parents of Kevin, who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy. Kevin was diagnosed with MD 11 years ago and since then there has yet to be a cure.

NINDS says that there are no treatments that can reverse or stop the progression of any form of MD. There is also no way to prevent the disease “aside from the use of prenatal screening interventions,”  because it is a genetic disease.

However, current treatments such as physical therapy, drug therapy, and surgery are being used to prevent “complications that result from weakness, reduced mobility, and cardiac and respiratory difficulties” in many cases of MD.

“We really appreciate this cause and what Pace University is doing. I graduated from here thirty years ago and I was a Pace Setter myself,” Kearney said.

Peter Kearney explained some of the struggles they face and how they keep a positive attitude.

“This disease has totally rocked our family. It’s made life very, very, difficult but we try to keep a positive attitude with Kevin,” Kearney said.

Kearney explained that Coach to Cure MD is a great cause because it brings awareness about the disease and helps to possibly find a cure.

“There’s so much technology out there, there’s so much going on that there could be a cure,” said Kearney. “Having people aware of it, by people just donating five dollars each, that would raise so much money to help the progress.”

Kearney believes that with money and research a cure can be found and that schools like Pace University really help to make a difference.

“The track record has changed from when he was born. They said his life expectancy was from mid to late teens. Now they’re saying its more mid to late thirties, so if we keep going with this money and this research then we can find a cure and stop this awful debilitative disease,” Kearney said.