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Muscular dystrophy interest renewed after passing of Jerry Lewis

Recently the world learned that legendary comedian, actor, director, screenwriter and singer Jerry Lewis had died. Despite a long and storied career in Hollywood entertaining Americans for decades, Lewis may be as well known for his work as a humanitarian as much as an entertainer, shedding a light and fundraising for the degenerative disease muscular dystrophy.

The disease affects the body's muscular system due to a deficiency of the protein dystrophin, which helps keep muscles cells strong. Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a common form, most often strikes boys between the age of three to five. Initial symptoms include fragility of the child's hips, pelvic area and shoulders. Next, it affects muscles of the trunk, leg and arms. By a child's teenage years, their heart and respiratory muscles may be affected as well.

In the past, it was rare for a sufferer to live beyond their teenage years, but due to advances in technology and research, muscular dystrophy patients may live deep into adulthood, with some victims reaching their 40s or even 50s. Current research including gene therapy and gene repair have researchers and doctors hopeful we will continue to see gains in fighting the disease.

Americans suffering from muscular dystrophy or any disabling disease that prevents them from maintaining gainful employment or children suffering from a debilitating disease may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits. There are specific medical requirements and federal regulations to enter into the program, so you may want to speak with a law firm familiar with Social Security Disability to determine whether you qualify and how they can help.

Source: The Muscular Dystrophy Association, "Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy," Aug. 21, 2017

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