MDA Canadian Ambassador Sandra Plagakis

For more than 68 years, the IAFF and its members have worked hard to raise $679 million to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC). That money has gone to life-saving research, the development of new medicines for neuromuscular diseases, and critical resources for patients and their families.

At the IAFF’s 56th Convention, MDC Ambassador Sandra Plagakis told delegates her incredible story from diagnosis to now living better with support from the MDC and medical treatment.

“I am a broadcaster by profession. So, when I started having symptoms, the impact was immediate,” said Plagakis. “At first, my friends, even my doctors, thought it was all in my head; that I was a little crazy.”

Droopy eyes and slurred speech were the first signs something was different. Doctors had various theories on what might be going on, with some even saying her symptoms were psychosomatic.

After a visit to the emergency room, a neurologist diagnosed her with a form of muscular dystrophy.
Eighteen years later, her condition is under control with medication.

“I don’t think there would have been so many medical advances in treatment had it not been for the support of the IAFF over nearly seven decades,” she said. “Thank you for what you have done and what you continue to do.”