Stories

Erich Maurer grew up in a small farming village in northern Switzerland. His mother was diagnosed with DM1 after complications from a surgical procedure.

Loraine Dressler, her daughter Kristl, and grandson Zen are all living with DM. Loraine shared with us the satisfaction she gets from being the primary caregiver for Kristl and Zen and how a diagnosis of DM gave her daughter the freedom to be herself.

Rupp Brothers

Regina Thompson grew up near Nashville, TN, feeling different. Not because she was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy (DM), but because she was the only one of seven children who wasn’t. And, she was the only girl.

Jessica Flynn, 26, grew up with a mother and twin sisters who all live with myotonic dystrophy; her mother has adult onset DM, and her sisters have congenital DM. Although Jessica hasn’t experienced any symptoms, she’s in the process of getting tested to determine if she’s a carrier. Jessica often hears the comment, “It must have been so hard growing up with family members affected by DM,” but she didn’t see it as a burden or a problem, it was just her normal life.

Diane Bade’s three children — Scott, Nicholas, and Christine -- have myotonic dystrophy, as did her husband, Chris Bade, who passed away in 2005. Though not affected herself, Diane, like many parents and spouses, works tirelessly to educate herself, her family and her community.

Sisters Mary Dowdle (37) and Caroline Easterling (39)  live in neighboring states: Maryland and Virginia, respectively. Both women live with myotonic dystrophy type 1, as did their father, grandfather and great grandfather.

Mollie McKool discovered that her family was affected by DM1 the way so many families do: when her daughter Kristen gave birth.

When Marty Benner’s granddaughter, Sophia, was born in November 2006, the doctors and nurses immediately knew something wasn’t right. She was put on life support while they monitored and tested her, yet more than a month later, they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

“Our family’s story begins when my undiagnosed daughter, Danielle, almost died giving birth and one of her twins had an initial APGAR score of zero.

Saurabh Rai, a San Francisco-based research analyst, has always been active and physically fit. So when he began experiencing mild myotonia several years ago, he didn’t take it too seriously. By 2009, the myotonia had gotten worse, despite the fact that he was exercising a lot.

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