Wicker Joins Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer in Urging Immediate Passage of Muscular Dystrophy Bill

Senator Joins in Effort to Reauthorize Legislation He Authored in 2001, the MD-CARE Act

September 16, 2008

WASHINGTON – At a press conference today on Capitol Hill, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., joined U.S. Olympic gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte, other members of Congress, and members of the Muscular Dystrophy community in calling for Congress to immediately reauthorize the Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance Research and Education (MD-CARE) Act, legislation authored by Wicker in 2001.

“Since the MD-CARE Act was signed into law in 2001, tremendous progress has been made toward finding a cure for this terrible disease,” Sen. Wicker said.  “I was proud of the strong bipartisan support this bill received seven years ago, and am glad to continue supporting this effort now.  The MD-CARE Act has provided momentum for more research, and with immediate action by Congress to reauthorize this legislation, we can continue building on that progress and working to find a cure.” 

Lochte, who won two gold medals in Beijing after setting new world records in the 200 meter backstroke and as a member of the 4 x 200 freestyle relay team, has dedicated efforts to fighting Muscular Dystrophy after losing a family member to the disease. 

“I lost a member of my family to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, so I’ve seen the impact of this disease firsthand,” Lochte said.  “I am committed to do anything I can to raise awareness and end Duchenne and hope it will make a difference in the lives of boys with the disease.” 

Wicker’s MD-CARE Act of 2001 specified a number of provisions for expanding and intensifying research on muscular dystrophy.  The law directed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish six centers of excellence and a government wide Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee (MDCC) to ensure collaboration and unity of efforts.  It also directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand data collection on muscular dystrophy. 

The current legislation is a reauthorization of Wicker’s bill and seeks to continue the incredible research and progress made since passage of the MD-CARE Act.