TUCSON, Ariz., April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the help of strong and dedicated retail partners and their caring customers, the Muscular Dystrophy Association's vital research and health care services programs will continue to benefit MDA families across the nation, thanks to the $23.3 million raised in its annual MDA Shamrocks fundraising program this season.
The campaign, which is centered on St. Patrick's Day, continues its record-breaking fundraising success, with total numbers still to be finalized.
"Our Shamrocks program allows our retail partners and their generous customers to play a key role in elevating the Association's mission to offer help and hope to the families we serve in every community," said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. "Every Shamrock purchased can have a life-changing effect by helping to fund the most promising research into lifesaving treatments and cures for muscle disease. We can't thank our partners and the American public enough for their continued support."
Monies raised also provide MDA families with essential health care service programs, such as MDA clinics where individuals can be seen by a multidisciplinary team specializing in neuromuscular diseases. MDA clinics are at the forefront of research and treatment, and often serve as sites for clinical trials.
Shamrocks sales also help to provide support group resources across the country, including information and guidance, traditional support groups and online connections. And, MDA Shamrocks make it possible to send thousands of children to MDA summer camp at no cost to families. Children attending often refer to the camp experience as the "best week of the year."
During the program, retailers — including grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants and other businesses — sold the green ($1), gold ($5) and platinum (higher amount) Shamrocks, which were then displayed in store windows, on walls and ceilings, or arranged into creative displays to show customers' support for the store and MDA.
In 2012, nearly $23 million was raised through Shamrocks sales.
"Our partners continue to show how deeply they are committed to our cause through the energy they put into their fundraising efforts," said MDA Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer Kevin Moran. "This season, we saw renewed dedication from everyone involved to share the Shamrocks spirit by selling or buying a Shamrock to make a difference."
The Shamrocks program, which began in mid-February in many locations and continued through the end of March, is one of MDA's signature programs.
Started in 1982 in Grand Rapids, Mich., the program went national a year later.
More than 15,000 retailers across the country participated in the campaign, led by the support of Applebee's, Burger King, CITGO Petroleum Corp., Jiffy Lube, Kroger, Lowe's Home Improvement, 7-Eleven and Corner Stores.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases today affecting more than 1 million Americans. It does so by funding research, providing comprehensive health care and support services, and through advocacy and education.
In addition to funding more than 250 research projects worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of 200 medical clinics; facilitates support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and provides local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters with progressive muscle diseases.
SOURCE Muscular Dystrophy Association