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MDA Honors Wasilla Woman with Top Achievement Award for Alaska


TUCSON, Ariz., July 27, 2010 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association has named Patricia Banks of Wasilla the recipient of its 2010 Robert Ross Personal Achievement Award for Alaska.

Banks, 63, was selected for MDA’s highest achievement award in Alaska for her outstanding work on behalf of others with disabilities.

Banks has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), which destroys the nerves that control all voluntary muscles, eventually resulting in paralysis. She uses a power wheelchair and is able to speak only with difficulty.

Since she learned she has ALS in 2004, Banks has continually sought out others with the disease in order to comfort them and share her own experiences in coping. She also has raised thousands of dollars for MDA and ALS research, in part by selling clothing she knitted from her own llama and sheep flocks.

“I’m very pleased to recognize Patricia Banks as Alaska’s Robert Ross MDA Personal Achievement Award recipient for 2010,” said MDA President & CEO Gerald C. Weinberg. “Her work is a real asset to the Wasilla community, and an example of the kind of leadership MDA is proud to support.”

Banks will accept the award during the local broadcast of the 2010 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon on Sept. 5 and 6 on KTUU, Channel 2 in Anchorage.

About the award

Banks was selected as Alaska’s state recipient after having been selected for a local achievement award by MDA’s Alaska Chapter.

One person will be selected from among all the state honorees around the country and named MDA’s national 2011 Robert Ross Personal Achievement Award recipient.  The national award recipient will be announced on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.

The award is named in memory of Robert Ross, MDA’s longtime chief executive who died in 2006. Ross created the Personal Achievement Award program in 1992 to recognize the exemplary accomplishments and community service of people who have any of the 40-plus neuromuscular diseases for which MDA seeks treatments and cures.

John Quinlan, a medical doctor from Lakeside Park, Ky., is MDA’s 2010 national award recipient. Quinlan, who has facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, also is director of the MDA clinic at the University of Cincinnati.

MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.   
In the Wasilla area, MDA maintains a clinic at AlaskaRegionalHospital in Anchorage.

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