Source: Sherman Publications

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Gift of good health given to nine-year-old

February 29, 2012

Allison Stanley will walk on March 24 for charity as part of the Muscle Walk at Ford Field. Photo by O. Shumaker
Olivia Shumaker

Review Intern

Last Friday Allison Stanley of Lake Orion turned nine years old and as a gift, received something that many people take for granted: good health.

Yet for Stanley, a muscular dystrophy patient, good health is always an appreciated gift.

Less than a year ago, Stanley was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth(CMT) a form of muscular dystrophy which while usually non-fatal affects the nerves from below the elbows and the knees down.

Last summer, Stanley had to have surgery to lengthen her Achilles' tendons and tendons on the bottom of her feet. As an effect of her CMT, these muscles were shrinking, forcing Stanley to walk on her toes with her heels up, instead of with her heels on the ground the way most people walk. Due to having casts on both of her lower legs and feet, Stanley spent some time in a wheelchair.

Today, Stanley wears braces on both legs during the day and at night, to prevent the tendons from reverting and forcing another lengthening surgery.

Though Stanley said she "can't run that fast on the playground," she is mobile and able to play with her friends, and recently, she reached a particularly special goal: rejoining dance.

"Allison was a competitive dancer before all of this happened," explained mother Christine Stanley. "We're hoping to be able to get her strong enough to be back with it next fall."

Stanley's dance company, Center Stage Dance, was also supportive. In April, the company will have a charity dance competition and this year their cause of choice is muscular dystrophy.

Stanley herself has been active in supporting muscular dystrophy causes. She is the ambassador for the Shamrock Program, a charity hosted by Hamlin Pub and Applebee's. For the month of March, visitors to either restaurant can buy a shamrock, and the money raised goes to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Stanley's picture hangs next to a poster for the program, and she will visit both locations periodically to support the cause.

In addition, Stanley is part of a team in the Muscle Walk, an event which is held through the Muscular Dystrophy Association to send children with various forms of muscular dystrophy to a summer camp. The walk takes place on March 24 at Ford Field and there will be various activities lined up. Donations can be made by walking or by donating directly to the walk itself. The team raising the most money will receive an award and the chance to meet some of the Detroit Lions.

It costs $800 to send one child to the summer camp but as Stanley is being sponsored by Crittenton Medical Equipment this year, her costs are already managed. So, Stanley is walking to raise money for other children to attend the camp. Her goal is to raise $2,400. It is important to the Stanley family to be able to thank those who have donated to their cause.   

In the end, one of the most important goals is that others know about CMT. The disease is not common and thus not commonly known; in addition, Stanley's particular brand of CMT, a combination of type two and type four, has been diagnosed in a limited number of cases worldwide, especially at Stanley's age.

"This is a new thing for us," Stanley's mom said, "but she's doing wonderful and her doctors are very proud of her."

To donate directly to Stanley's team, search "stanley muscular dystrophy association" on Google or go on walk.mda.org/ to donate to the Muscle Walk.