Hundreds fill Pettit Center for annual MDA “Muscle Walk”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Hundreds filled the Pettit National Ice Center on Sunday, March 24th to support those affected by muscular dystrophy.

Walkers laced up Sunday afternoon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's "Muscle Walk."

The family of seven-year-old Austin Orlowski raised a little over $1,000 for "Team Austin."

"He was diagnosed at birth. They said at first he would never walk, so here`s our miracle -- he`s walking. It took him until age five but he did it," the boy's mother said.

Orlowski has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy -- one of 43 forms of the disease. Muscular dystrophy often confines those diagnosed to wheelchairs, and can be life-threatening.

The annual "Muscle Walk" raises funds for research.

"Currently the Muscular Dystrophy Association has 330 active grants across the country that fund about $43 million worth of research. (We are) able to start doing some clinical trials for different gene skipping therapies and different protein therapies. It`s really an exciting time," an MDA official told FOX6 News.

Courtney Sanchez says this is exciting news for her, and her two sons Caden and Cody.

"It's positive to know something is being done and that they are very involved," Sanchez said.

As participants had a chance to mingle and share stories, some gained more courage and hope.

"It's helping them come out of their shell and they're more aware of what they are going through in life and that it`s okay," Sanchez said.

So far this year, more than $45,000 was raised, which is about $15,000 more than last year. All of the money raised in southeastern Wisconsin stays in southeastern Wisconsin.