2019 Accomplishments: Here's What You Helped Us Do

Investing in Dystonia Research 

  • DMRF Canada launched our “Better Treatments in Dystonia” grant; encouraging researchers in Canada to investigate new ways to improve lives for dystonia patients today. In 2019, we awarded not one – but two - of these grants, totaling $100,000 to Dr. Kiss at the University of Calgary and Dr. Fasano at Toronto Western Hospital; 
  • In partnership with the Banting Foundation, we once again supported the Discovery Award for Early Investigators, and provided a grant to Dr. Nicholas Strzalkowski at Mount Royal University to support his research in muscle sensory feedback in dystonia; 
  • We supported the Dystonia Research Fund in collaboration with the DMRF in the United States to fund the best worldwide research. Since 1976 this collaboration has funded over 400 grants awarding $35 million in research funding;
  • We continue to invest in bringing new practitioners into the field and expanded our Clinical Fellowship program to include a research component. This year we awarded this two-year Clinical and Research Fellowship, valued at $100,000 to Dr. Mario Sousa at Toronto Western Hospital.

Providing Support and Care to Patients

In addition to our advancements in research, we continue to provide support and care to patients, with an aim to empower patients. 

  • In November 2019, we hosted a full-day free Dystonia Symposium in Vancouver, as well as Information Sessions in Winnipeg and Kelowna bringing a combined total of 400 patients, healthcare providers, and volunteers together, and we supported over 60 local support group community events taking place in communities all over the country;
  • We continue to support local support group events and answered thousands of patients queries by phone, mail, email and via social media;
  • We awarded dystonia patient grants to two deserving students who are pursuing their career goals via the ‘Jackson Mooney Patient Grant’, for the third year in a row.

Building Awareness and Educating the Community

  • We published two newsletters, six e-newsletters, and supported patients, doctors and community groups, by distributing over 10,000 dystonia awareness and educational materials; 
  • DMRF Canada lit up 15 major landmarks during Dystonia Awareness month in September. 
  • We also recruited patients and shot and produced the first-ever professional dystonia awareness video that has been viewed, passed, and/or shared over 5,000 times since its launch just a few months ago!  

We have done this with just one full-time staff, and by working tirelessly and passionately with the DMRF Canada Board of Directors, our partners and volunteers, and in partnership with our donors, and the research community toward a shared goal: to continue to push towards better care, more options for treatment and ultimately a cure for dystonia.