Family plans chili cookoff to benefit MDA

by Sonja J. Keith

Theresa Pierce knows there’s not a lot she can do to help her son’s muscular difficulties but she can raise money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Theresa’s 11-year-old son JD was diagnosed two years ago with a muscular disorder. “It started when he was walking,” she said. “He couldn’t keep up with the other kids.”

JD – a fourth-grader at Southwest Middle School in Searcy – has experienced learning as well as mobility problems, according to Theresa. She said he knows his limitations but still wants to climb but he can’t. “It’s just hard.”

Initially, it was believed that JD had “knock knees” because they would hit each other and make him fall. He wore leg braces but “that didn’t seem to make anything better.”

Theresa persisted with doctor’s visits to find out what was making him continue to fall. “I knew something was wrong with my kid and I wanted to know what it is,” she said. “I finally asked the right question to the right person.”

A blood test pointed to a muscular disorder – Duchene’s or Becker – but medical personnel aren’t sure which one. With Duchene’s, a terminal muscle disease, the individual’s body does not process amino acids needed to build muscles. “There’s no cure for Duchene’s,” Theresa said, adding that steroids only help with the symptoms.

JD and his family face his health challenges “one day at a time,” according to Theresa. “You can’t do anything about it but pray.”

Theresa is finding that working on a chili cookoff to raise funds for MDA helps. “It’s exciting to do this and getting to help,” she said.

The event is planned 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Searcy Carmichael Community Center at 801 S. Elm St. The event will include door prizes and a raffle for a digital camera. The cost is $5 for lunch. For more information or to register for the cook-off, contact Theresa Pierce at 501.368.0841 or [email protected].

The money raised will be donated to the MDA walkathon on Saturday, March 15, in Little Rock. Theresa explained that a portion of the money raised for MDA will benefit JD directly, helping make summer camp possible. “He will get to do things he normally couldn’t do (at the camp).”