State's first family to appear on MDA telethon

Saturday, August 27th 2005, 12:07 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and first lady Kim Henry are lending their help to the Jerry Lewis Labor Day weekend telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, telling how the disease touched their lives in a tragic way.

The Henrys will appear by videotape, talking about the 1990 loss of one of their twin infants from spinal muscular atrophy, known as SMA. It is one of more than 40 neuromuscular diseases that MDA fights through its research and service programs.

``Kim and I know firsthand the human toll of muscular dystrophy,'' Henry said.

``Fourteen years ago, we lost a child to a rare disorder called spinal muscular atrophy. Lindsay was two months old when she was diagnosed with SMA. Doctors told us that she would not live to see her first birthday and that there was nothing we could do to help her. She died five months later.

``We can attest to the turmoil a family goes through when a loved one is being treated for such a frightening disease. The last thing anyone should have to agonize over during that time is the cost of medical care.''

He said MDA will pick up medical costs for patients treated at the MDA's new Neuromuscular Center at Integris Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

In a tape to be shown at the Sept. 4-5 national telethon, Henry discusses the help MDA gives families and urges public support of the association. In Oklahoma, he said the MDA currently serves more than 2,000 adults and children with muscular disorders.

The telethon will be broadcast from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., and will be shown on Oklahoma City television station KWTV, Channel 9.

Spokesman Paul Sund said the Henrys' segment was taped at the Governor's Mansion about two months ago.

Henry is in the third year of a four-year term and plans to seek re-election in 2006. The Henrys have three daughters, including Leah, 14, the twin of Lindsay. The others are Laynie, 16, and Baylee, 8.