Glen Guttormsen knows all too well the daily challenges faced by children with neuromuscular disease and their families. In 1955, his five-year-old son, David, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. “The doctor told us kids with Duchenne rarely outlived their teenage years,” Glen explains. “It was quite a shock.”
After David’s diagnosis, Glen and his family found support from their local MDA team in San Jose, California. “Right from the start we were active with MDA,” Glen says. “MDA gave us information about the importance of David eating a healthy diet and other ways to help maintain David’s health.”
The entire Guttormsen family supported MDA by volunteering at the local MDA Telethon and summer camp, and raising money through MDA Block Walks in their neighborhood.
David began using a wheelchair at age 11, but that did not stop him from pursuing his passions and reaching his goals. David was sports editor and photographer for his high school newspaper, and went on to attend San Jose State University, where Glen worked for 35 years. David proudly graduated with honors in 1973 before passing a few months later at the age of 23.
Glen, now 91 and living in Medford, Oregon, has continued to support MDA in various ways for the past 60 years, including establishing a fund for Duchenne research. He also included a gift to MDA in his estate plans. “My hope is…that Duchenne is conquered. I am encouraged because MDA has the staying power to make this happen for these kids.”