Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University coaching staff and the Bulldog Football program will join an important national cause to help support "Coach to Cure MD" by adding a special player to the roster for this Saturday's (Sept. 30) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) homecoming game versus Wayne State at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
"Coach to Cure MD", a national charity project of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), helps bring coaches nationwide together from all levels of collegiate football to raise awareness and research funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most prolific genetic killer diagnosed in childhood.
This Saturday, the Bulldogs will not only bring awareness to the effort, but will also honor young fan Wilder DeGood and his family as they join the Ferris State football team for the 3 p.m. (ET) afternoon matchup.
As part of the afternoon events, Wilder will join the nationally-ranked Bulldogs when they take the field against the Warriors.
"We're thrilled to support Coach to Cure MD and we're looking forward to the opportunity to welcome Wilder and his family to our program," said FSU head coach Tony Annese. "This is an important nationwide initiative for coaches throughout college football and to have Wilder and his family with us on this day will really have a great impact on all of us."
The entire Bulldog coaching staff will join thousands of others from the national coaches organization by wearing "Coach to Cure" MD logo patches on the sidelines for the game. This year marks the 10th year of the nationwide program. The rapidly growing annual effort has raised more than $1.5 million dollars to battle Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
AFCA members will wear the "Coach to Cure MD" logo patch on the sidelines and college football fans are asked to donate to research projects supported by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. focused entirely on this disease.
"We are grateful for those at Ferris State, Coach to Cure MD and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), who were involved in making the Coach to Cure event possible for Wilder and other boys across the country," said his mother, Autumn DeGood. "We believe that this is an amazing experience that these boys may not otherwise have. This is also a way that boys with Duchenne can participate in a sport they love. We are also thankful for the opportunity to raise awareness for Muscular Dystrophy as well as raising funds to help find a cure."
Football fans can donate to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research throughout the Sept. 30 contests by going online to www.CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word "CURE" to 50555 (a $10 donation will automatically be added to your next phone bill in honor of the 10th anniversary of the initiative).
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood and primarily affects boys across all races and cultures. Boys and young men with this disorder develop progressive muscle weakness that eventually causes loss of mobility, wheelchair dependency and a decline in respiratory and cardiac function. Currently, there is no cure and limited therapeutic options exist.
In addition to the Bulldog staff, thousands of other coaches across the country will also take part in Saturday's important cause.
The AFCA was founded in 1922 and is considered the primary professional association for football coaches at all levels of competition. The 11,000-member organization includes more than 90 percent of head coaches at the 700-plus schools that sponsor football at the college level. Members include coaches from Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico.
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by parents of children with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. The organization's mission is to improve the treatment, quality of life and long-term outlook for all individuals affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy through research, advocacy, education and compassion. PPMD is headquartered in Middletown, Ohio with offices in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
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