From its early days, MDA has aspired to take an innovative approach to servicing its community. It was the first MD organisation in the world to utilise the power of the web, and since its inception in 1995 the MDA website, Home of MDA has seen over 10 million visitors. We hope to expand on this with the launch of Forum.MDA-Net.md a web-based forum to promote open discussion and free flow of information within the MD community.

Our respite programs have been refined over the past decade and our flagship program Camp MDA is now recognised in many quarters here in Australia and overseas. The benchmark in the provision of similar programs is emulated with OperationMD ShortBreak!.

For MDA, the measure of our success in providing relevant services is knowing that our members are able to gain something significant from being involved. The McGann family have only recently sent their son Thomas to Camp MDA and were kind enough to send us a letter with their thoughts on the program:

Since becoming involved in MDA’s activities programs Thomas’ life has been drastically enriched. Anyone in a similar situation to us will be aware of the barriers and limitations placed on their child participating in the sorts of activities able-bodied children take for granted. For quite some time we despaired of him ever experiencing camps and trips independent of his immediate family. After recently attending a Camp MDA at Southbank, he looks forward to his next MDA adventure as part of his new and exciting life. From our perspective, to have people we trust looking after Thomas is very reassuring. The caring and professional people we have met make us feel he is in very good hands.

Boris M Struk

November 2004

Apart from the impact on Thomas’ life, our association with MDA has enabled us to enjoy some relaxing time together. Keep up the good work. Lina and Des McGann

Recently, the Regional Director of the Department of Human Services, Gippsland Region recognised MDA community access respite programs and commended MDA for its “creativity and responsiveness…in the development and provision of this program.”

Recognition by government of this nature can only serve as a positive for securing the necessary resources for MDA programs, and further positions us to be able to better influence research and client outcomes.

The new members of the “MD family” who have joined our community through circumstance would most likely not realise that the MDA of today did not happen overnight. It has been a hard, but rewarding journey. Sometimes in a reflective moment, many hundreds of faces of students, who have supported Camp MDA and cared for “our kids” flash through my mind. I think how much better they are armed, post graduation, to serve not just our MD community but society in general. Over 600 physiotherapists, OTs, nurses, social workers and other paramedical professionals can lay claim to have shared in the “MD experience.”

There are many positive things happening at the moment. With the placement of students such as Leah and Robina at MDA, we hope those positives outcomes will continue to be seen well into the future.

Likewise, our objective of mapping the impact of MD on our community will have significant positive repercussions, providing we receive the support from our community, our members and those supporting them through clinical, medical and social interactions. Quantifying this impact will be difficult, but then if it were easy would it be worth pursing?

With another year drawing to a close, I would like to thank my staff for sharing the journey and helping to deliver the best to the MD community. I take this opportunity to wish all of our members, clients, supporters, donors, families and friends a safe and happy Christmas and festive season and look forward to a new year that holds the promise of fulfilling the hopes, dreams and aspirations of our community.

Until next time!

Boris M Struk