Agua Caliente Casino Resort volunteered to deliver muscular dystrophy patients a Thanksgiving feast.
Photo: News Channel 3
Thanks to a generous donation from the executives at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort in Desert Hot Springs, California, patients at Angel View nursing home were treated to a full Thanksgiving feast.
Many of the patients who enjoyed the meal suffer from muscular dystrophy and are ventilator-dependent, wheelchair bound or both. For patients like Peter Li, a 40 year old patient who was told wouldn’t live to see his 20th birthday, the generosity was overwhelmingly special. He said, “It makes me feel warm inside ‘cause I can be part of it and feel other people’s joy and stuff.”
The Impact of Muscular Dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is not just one disease, it’s actually a number of neuromuscular diseases with many different prognoses and symptoms. When it comes to neuromuscular diseases there are as many as 150 different neuromuscular disorders out there and out of that number, 9 fall into the category of MD.
Because there are 9 different forms of MD, there are a lot of symptoms that affect almost every patient differently. The disease also affects men and women, young and old. No matter the form, it causes the progressive weakening of the body's muscles. For some patients, this means that it may affect how they walk or move their arms, and for others, it could mean that the eventual use of a wheelchair and/or a ventilator.
Poor balance and frequent falls are two very common signs of muscular dystrophy. Depending on the type of MD the patient has, the symptoms can show up in early childhood and sometimes later in adulthood. Other symptoms include difficulty walking, limited range of movement, and drooping eyelids. Over time, MD can cause weakening eyesight, vocal cords and a whole range of issues leading to heart and lung problems.
Hoping for a cure
Despite the countless hours of research from scientists and the medical community, there is still no cure or way of preventing the disease. But, that doesn’t mean that no progress has been made in understanding MD and how it affects people. What we do know is that MD is often caused by a genetic mutation that can be passed down through generations or through a parent’s DNA. For some families, it can be passed down, and in other, rare cases, it can develop from a spontaneous mutation.
Research and clinical trials continue, and so does advocacy, for patients who have the disease. They all play a critical role in keeping MD at the forefront of medical research, so that one day a cure will be discovered. This cure will help hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who live with MD.
Finding a cure may not be in the foreseeable future, but thankfully for those who are battling MD, there are a number of treatments to make living with the disorder a bit more bearable. Treatments include physio therapies, occupational therapies, and the use of medications, such as steroid drugs.
Celebrating Holidays in a Nursing Home
Patients who are dealt with a more severe case of MD will eventually require round the clock care to help them. This is because as the muscles deteriorate, everything from brushing teeth to getting dressed, becomes impossible to do on their own. That’s where places like Angel View come into play. Often times, because of the support that the patient requires, living at home is not an option.
Living in a nursing facility can be lonely and isolating. This is especially true over the holidays where loneliness can easily creep in. Being lonely can lead to depression and that can have a negative effect on a person’s health, making living with a disorder like MD that much more challenging. Peter Li, who has been battling his disease for most of his life knows what that’s all about. He said, “Most of us don’t have family that would come out for Thanksgiving and stuff, it’s a nice way for people to get together.”
Peter’s experience is just one example of the sad reality that many people who live with chronic disease in isolation face. Thankfully though, simple acts have a huge impact on Peter and his fellow residents at Angel View.
The Impact of Generosity
Donations have a much bigger impact than just making sure that a few people get a good meal. It improves morale for everyone, from the nursing home staff, the patients, their families and even those who are doing the donating. The hustle and bustle of daily lives makes it hard to stop and be grateful for what we have, what we do, what we can do. Taking a few moments to be generous to others can and does have a positive impact on so many lives.
Patients and staff were very excited to see the ready-to-serve Thanksgiving dinners, with all the trimmings delivered. Their gratitude was obvious, but it wasn’t just the residents of Angel View that were proud to be a part of the initiative. Bob Maloney, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Casino were more than happy to give the patients a full Thanksgiving feast. Maloney says, “giving back is what makes the holiday worthwhile...this certainly made my day.”