Stories of Inspiration - 2020 Virtual Conference

The MDF 2020 Virtual Conference kicked off day two with inspirational stories from the community. This presentation included voices from the community sharing what MDF means the them, the Kayla Vittek Memorial Award presented by Lisa Harvey-Duren, and a special presentation from DM2 community member Rob Besecker, MBA!

About the presenters:

Lisa Harvey-Duren
Lisa Harvey served on the MDF Board of Directors from January 2007 until September 2010 and was the founding MDF Executive Director from May 2008 until January 2012. Lisa was instrumental in driving the MDF from a start-up into a thriving non-profit including laying the groundwork and structure of the organization, launching the first educational and research programs, growing the staff and supporting families in crisis. Prior to joining the MDF, Lisa was a Senior Product Manager at eBay. In 2011 Lisa joined an author panel convened by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) to help write an evidence-based guideline on "Myotonic Dystrophies." Lisa lives in Capitola, California. Her daughter Kayla was born in July 2005 with the congenital form of myotonic dystrophy. Kayla's birth was the catalyst for Lisa's dedication to help in the effort to find treatments and a cure for myotonic dystrophy.

Rob Besecker, MBA
Rob Besecker is the Support Group Facilitator for Chicago and the surrounding areas of Illinois. Rob is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker and healthcare professional who spends much of his time advocating for patients and their families. Rob formed the Chicagoland DM Support Group in Illinois after publishing his inspirational memoir in 2017 entitled, “Everest Strong: Reaching New Heights with Chronic Illness”. Rob’s passion for healthcare and helping others live their best lives comes from facing health challenges in his own life. Rob was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy type 2 in 2006 at the age of 33, shortly after his father was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Almost 7 years previously, Rob began dealing with the onset of chronic heart ailments that also plagued his mother and other family members. Rob went through the first of many cardiac surgeries in 2003 to install an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. A global adventurist and semi-professional bucket list-checker, Rob has visited all 7 continents, 45 states and every major league baseball stadium.