Racing to fight muscle diseases
Family and friends bring community together to battle diseases like Muscular Dystrophy

By Olivia Holler

Night at the Races is an event to raise money for people affected by muscular diseases in the St. Louis area. My family and my neighbors, the Hawn family, are one of the many families affected by this.

One day, my mom and Mrs. Hawn were talking over the fence and they realized that we have very similar stories. The Hawn’s created the team “The Flying Pigs” in 2009 after they had experienced the loss of their six-month-old son, Ryan. Ryan had Spinal Muscular Dystrophy Type 1. This causes weaknesses of the core muscles of the body and infants.

It was really a blessing for them to come into our family’s lives and let us be a part of their team. I have Myopathy with respiratory weakness. My disease causes me to have fatigue, respiratory obstruction, shortness of breath, and weakness in my neck, hip, thighs and upper arm muscles. I also have scoliosis.

I had spinal fusion when I was in seventh grade. I have been in a chair for about two years to conserve my energy and to preserve my respiratory function. My sister and my mom also have a milder form of Muscular Dystrophy. We use our strengths and differences to come together and support not only our families but others as well. Our team raised nearly $16,000 from October to about April last year. Our goal is $30,000 for this year.

The donations go towards a lot of different things like camp, research, equipment and a bunch of other things. Here’s some quick points on how the money is broken up:
$2,000- one week of a research grant.
$3,000- will provide care support for 25 MDA Care Center visits.
$5,000- will fund one month of research for a young investigator.
$8,000- will send four kids to MDA camp for a week with no cost toward a family.
$10,000- two weeks of support from MDA’s National Resource Center.

The “Night at the Races” will be on Feb. 24 at Immaculate Conception Parish Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m. and races begin at 7 p.m. This is the second time we have done this event. Last year we had 200 people and raised $15,328. 

At the event there is 12 horse races, auction items, 50/50’s and heads or tails. To participate you can donate, buy a table which is $200 per table, buy a horse for $50 and you can sponsor a race for $100. We also sell t-shirts and do other events like the Muscle Walk that is held on April 21 at Tower Grove Park. The t-shirts are $15 and baseball tees are $20. I encourage you to come to these events, support MD and have fun while doing it!

You can visit our Facebook page: @TheFlyingPigsMDA. If you want more information about the races contact: Doug and Emily Holler 402 Parkshire Place Dr., Dardenne Prairie, MO 63368 or call 636-236-9198.
Olivia Holler is a junior at Liberty High School where she is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Liberty Ledger and is highly involved in groups like All of Us Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Associate Student Council, Educators Rising, 2019 Class Committee and Link Crew. She also likes to read, write, watch Netflix and hang out with friends in her free time.