Fishing For MD (Muscular Dystrophy): Who We Are and What We Do

Welcome to our brand new weekly Fishing For MD (Muscular Dystrophy) blog! At Fishing for MD, we are passionate about two things: Offshore fishing and finding a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. With that in mind, we have created an innovative way to use competitive fishing teams to raise money toward finding a cure for MD. Each week we will be using this blog to share information related to our main passion, offshore fishing, and our main goal, to fight Muscular Dystrophy. Today, learn more about who we are, what we’re about, and how we’re using our passion for fishing to fight this debilitating and all too common disease.

Our goal is simple: to use fishing to help find a cure for muscular dystrophy.

Fishing For MD (Muscular Dystrophy): Who We Are and What We Do

What We Do

Fishing For MD has created an innovative way to use offshore fishing to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association in its efforts to help find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. We will be launching a full-time, competitive offshore fishing team that will compete in regional events all along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Once the offshore team is off the ground, we will be adding two additional teams for salt water in-shore and freshwater bass fishing by the end of 2016. All of our teams will be led by man or woman with a muscular disease since a core piece of our vision is to give hope and inspiration to others who are living with Muscular Dystrophy and other muscle diseases.

What is the most exciting part of what we will be doing? The proceeds generated by our fishing teams will allow us to provide ongoing financial support to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Fishing for MD has formed a one of a kind and unique Strategic Alliance with MDA to pledge our financial support to their cause, which means we will be donating a majority portion of our surplus directly to the MDA. The initial terms of the Strategic Alliance Agreement will run through 2018. Each year, we expect to make an annual donation of more than $1 million to support this organization’s important work.

Since we are dedicated to fundraising as much support as possible for the MDA, we are actively seeking out corporate sponsorships to generate revenue. We will partner with businesses and organizations that want to increase their visibility through our branding while supporting a great cause. We have been working with a variety of companies who are already excited to pledge their support. Our full-time staff will attend more than thirty highly attended events each year in support of our network of corporate sponsors and provide them with visibility through our own networks. After all, corporate sponsors allow us to do what we do; therefore we are sure to let them know how much we appreciate them!

We’re committed to helping to find a cure for muscular dystrophy, one fish at a time.

Why Muscular Dystrophy?

Fishing for MD was founded by Paul Robertson, a Maryland native and successful entrepreneur, businessman, and youth sports coach. Paul was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 15 years ago. Paul has never let his illness slow him down and with the founding and successful management of two profitable companies, he decided to use his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for fishing to be a champion for the cause of Muscular Dystrophy awareness and eradication. Paul strives to give hope to others living with the disease by providing an example of what they can achieve despite the limitations caused by muscle disease. He has found a unique way to give back to a cause near and dear to his heart by using his passion for fishing to provide financial support for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. This passion and dedication to fishing and finding a cure for MD is at the core of everything we do. We hope you will join us.

Paul Robertson at MDA camp.

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy is group of incurable, degenerative neuromuscular diseases that most commonly affects boys and men. While each type of Muscular Dystrophy varies somewhat, they all cause progressive muscle degeneration and a loss of muscle mass.

MD is caused by genetic mutations which affect the body’s ability to produce the proteins needed for healthy muscle growth. Complications of MD can vary greatly depending on the type and the case but it can lead to the shortening of tendons around the joints and muscles which can inhibit one’s ability to walk, as well as cause scoliosis, difficulty swallowing, and heart problems. Despite decades of research and many new discoveries on the horizon, no cure has been found. Therefore, those living with MD must rely on assistive technology and ongoing physical therapy to manage their symptoms.

These are the 6 most common types of Muscular Dystrophy:

Duchenne MD

Duchenne is by far the most common form of MD, making up about half of all muscular dystrophy cases and affecting about 1 in every 3,500-6000 male births in the United States annually. While girls may be carriers and risk being mildly affected, it most commonly afflicts boys. A family history of the disease will greatly increase the risk of being born with Duchenne MD, and about 1/3 of boys have at least one family member who has been affected. Symptoms of Duchenne generally appear by the age of 3 and include falling frequently, trouble running, abnormally large calf muscles, learning disabilities, trouble getting up from a sitting or lying position, and walking on toes.

Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Symptoms of Becker are similar to Duchenne but are generally more mild, progress at a slower pace, and don’t appear until teens or 20s.

Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy

Sometimes called Steinert’s disease, Myotonic MD does not allow the muscles to relax after a contraction. For adults diagnosed with MD, Myotonic is the most common form. It generally affects the facial and neck muscles first.

Facioscapulohumeral (FSHD) Muscular Dystrophy

Muscles in the face and shoulders are generally the first to be affected in cases of FSHD. It most often begins to present later in life, with some patients not experiencing symptoms until the age of 40.

Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

Congenital MD can afflict both boys and girls and symptoms are often presents at birth and generally by the age of 2. The severity and rapidity of progression can vary greatly.

Limb-girdle Muscular Dystrophy

Symptoms of Limb-girdle MD generally begin to present in childhood or the teenage years and they usually affect hip and shoulder muscles first. This is the type of MD with which our founder, Paul Robertson, is living. After experiencing mobility challenges, Paul became inspired to do something to help fight the disease and offer hope for others with the condition.

Fishing for MD’s Mission

At Fishing For MD, our mission is at the core of everything we do. We are committed to utilizing offshore fishing sponsorships to directly collaborate with the Muscular Dystrophy Association to find a cure for neuromuscular disease while also providing funds to raise awareness and support for those currently affected by Muscular Dystrophy.

Fishing for MD’s Vision For the Future

Fishing For MD is a unique organization because it was founded by a real person living with MD. FFMD strives to bring hope to others who are experiencing Muscular Dystrophy. We are passionate and dedicated to our cause and have lofty goals for how far we will go. We plan to annually contribute a minimum of $1 million to MDA to support the mission of fighting muscle disease in the name of FFMD and our participating corporate sponsors.

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact us to learn more!

How You Can Help

At Fishing For MD, we rely on the help of sponsors, supporters, others living with MD, and, most importantly, YOU! There are many ways to get involved with our cause and we hope you will join us in finding a cure for muscle disease.

Sponsor a team

Are you interested in sponsoring a fishing team? We are always looking to build new partnerships with businesses who want to support our work and increase their brand visibility while supporting a great cause! The fishing industry is a huge yet underutilized sponsorship market with a $115 billion impact on our economy. We have a variety of sponsorship opportunities that will support your business’s goals. Please visit our Partner Opportunities page or contact us to learn more.

Share our message

We are committed to getting the word out about MD and we need your help to do it! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and encourage your friends and fellow fishing enthusiasts to do the same. Keep up with our work and share our statuses, tweets, and blogs and don’t forget to use our hashtags #FishingforMD and #FFMD. With your help, we can raise awareness of muscle diseases and gain the support we need to finally find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy.

Get involved

Are you living with muscular dystrophy and have a passion for fishing? Then we want to talk to you! We will have many exciting opportunities for other fishing enthusiasts to get involved with our cause. Please contact us to find out more.

Fishing for MD (Muscular Dystrophy)

Join Fishing for MD in our fight to find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy! Like us on Facebook to stay up to date on upcoming events, team member updates, and corporate sponsors. And follow us on Twitter and Google+ too to help us spread awareness about muscle disease. Interested in becoming a corporate sponsor? Please contact us to learn more about how you can reach the 60 million people that are involved in the sport fishing community while supporting a great cause.