Virtual Dystonia Zoo Day is September 12, 2020


The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) has transitioned its popular local zoo walks into Virtual Dystonia Zoo Day on Saturday, September 12, 2020. The dystonia community is uniting online for a national day of action to boost dystonia awareness and raise funds for urgently-needed medical research.

“DMRF is bringing the fun and energy of our Dystonia Zoo Walks to a virtual stage so people and families from all over the country can join together in the fight for a cure,” said Ronald Hersh, DMRF’s Vice President of Development. “The health and safety of the dystonia community has always been at the heart of the DMRF mission.” Hersh and his wife June honored their adult daughter Allison London by supporting “Ali’s ZooGooders,” the top-earning team at the Bronx Dystonia Zoo Walk in 2019.

-Click here for Frequently Asked Questions-

Virtual Dystonia Zoo Day will begin with a livestreamed kick-off at 11:00 AM Central Time (USA). Scheduled sessions throughout the day include:

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM
Let’s ZOO This! Virtual Dystonia Zoo Day Kick-Off with DMRF President Art Kessler and Friends

11:15 AM – 11:35 AM
Welcome to the Jungle: Zoo Keeper Chat with Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Dystonia Research Back Stage Pass: In the Lab with Christian Schlieker, PhD, and Anthony Rampello, PhD

1:00 PM – 1:35 PM
Cubs Kingdom: Kid Zone

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Float like a Butterfly: Chair Yoga & Mindfulness with Richard Sabel MA, MPH, OTR, GCFP

4:15 PM – 5:00 PM
Q&A with Movement Disorder Experts Joanna Blackburn, MD, Rachel Saunders-Pullman, MD, MPH, MS, & Michele Tagliati, MD

5:00 PM
Croon Like a Baboon: Closing Ceremony & Sing-A-Long with Awareness Ambassador Billy McLaughlin

Signing up for the event is free and participants can support the DMRF by purchasing an event t-shirt, making a donation, or becoming a “ZooGooder” sponsor. 100% of donations (up to $50,000) will be matched a generous anonymous donor.

National Sponsors are Allergan, an AbbVie Company; Merz; and Ipsen.

Dystonia is a chronic, often disabling, brain disorder marked by extreme, involuntary muscle contractions that cause abnormal body movements and postures. Common signs include abnormal movements of the head and neck, excessive blinking, a breathy or choking voice, hand cramps, or a twisted foot. Because dystonia is not better known, symptoms are often mistaken for mental illness, intoxication, or poor social skills. Dystonia impacts people of all ages and backgrounds. There is currently no cure, and though treatments exist there is no single therapy that benefits even a majority of patients.

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing research for improved dystonia treatments and ultimately a cure, promoting awareness, and supporting the well-being of affected individuals and families.