Friend Raising Evening at Crown Entertainment Complex

On Thursday, 17 October, 2013, Muscular Dystrophy Australia held its annual ‘Friend Raising Evening’ at Crown Entertainment Complex, Melbourne.

The event hosted by MDA provided an opportunity to network with an eclectic group of corporate, business and community leaders.

Now more than ever, MDA is seeking to forge strong partnerships with individuals and businesses to help strengthen its ability to provide the best care and service for those in the community living with MD. MDA is grateful for any communication no matter how big or small with all members of society to create a greater friend-base for the organisation.

The Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator The Hon. Mitch Fifield, was a guest of honour for the evening and also launched the ‘Economic Study of Muscular Dystrophy’. The report, produced by Deloitte Access Economics and funded by MDA, is an updated version of the 2007 pioneering report ‘The Cost of MD’. The original report provided such valuable insight into the cost of MD on both individual families and the Australian economy that MDA chose to update the data to reflect an accurate look at the fiscal cost of MD in today’s society.

One of the key insights that were revealed in the report is that the total economic cost of MD to Australian society was estimated to be more than $1.8 billion in 2012, which has increased almost 30% from the estimated cost in 2005 of $1.4 billion.

The report also delved into the issue of employment for people with MD showing that the employment rate for people with MD and other similar conditions was 22.1% lower than for the rest of the Australian population. Alarmingly, it also showed that more than 70% of males and 60% of females with MD have a total cash income of less than $450 per week which is less than minimum wage.

It was important for the report to provide analysis of both the economic cost on society as well as the financial impact on individual families. Throughout the research process many families who had a member with MD were interviewed and their experiences are shared. One particularly eye-opening statement came from a person named Laurie, who has a grandson with MD, as he noted that a full home modification could cost up to $200,000.

Another highlight of the evening was the surprise performance by the Victoria Police Pipe Band who stunned guests by beginning to perform outside the room then make their way through the crowd to continue their magnificent song set on stage.

MDA would like to send a special thank you to Andy and Ritchie from the Andy Grant Duo band who for the second year running graciously donated their time to play wonderful music throughout the entire evening.

MDA Executive Director, Boris M Struk, spoke about the personal impact of Muscular Dystrophy and on the community at large. He also provided a detailed account of the services and support provided by the MDA historically and today. Clearly the MDA has sustained remarkable growth in its ability to support the community through various programs and services and also fund critical research – clinical and bench science. Boris then introduced key MDA staff members on stage as well as researchers from the National Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre.

NMDRC Senior Scientist Jason D White provided a brief profile on each member of the research team.

With more than 100 people in attendance, MDA was overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm shown by so many people within the community. Representatives from the MDA Committee of Management were amongst some of the distinguished guests who enjoyed the evening. The night was a great success and MDA hopes to build on the event to make it even more spectacular for 2014.

The report also compares the associated costs between raising a child with MD and without MD and concludes that raising a child with a disability like MD can cost up to two to three times more than raising a child without a disability. A brief analysis of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is included.

The Executive Summary of the ‘Economic Study of Muscular Dystrophy’ report, is available to download here.

To obtain a full copy of the report please call MDA Public Relations and Communications Manager on (03) 9320 9555 or email

Mitch Fifield

Senator Mitch Fifield launches MDA Report.

Boris M Struk presenting at Friend Raising Evening (below)

Boris M Struk