Muscular Dystrophy WA 50th Anniversary


logos togetherIn 2017 Muscular Dystrophy WA celebrated 50 years of funding research and supporting the Western Australian Muscular Dystrophy Community.

The focus for the year was threefold – recognition, acknowledgement and awareness.

Founded in 1967, Muscular Dystrophy WA was borne by Professor Byron Kakulas in conjunction with a small group of parents with the Rotary Club of West Perth.

Making the momentous discovery that a paralytic disease affecting the Rottnest Island Quokka could be treated for vitamin E deficiency, Professor Kakulas demonstrated the potential for previously thought incurable muscle diseases to be treated.

Along with stimulating worldwide research, Professor Kakulas worked with the Rotary Club and
other committed community members to gain funding to provide social support for those living with muscular dystrophy.

While Muscular Dystrophy WA’s pillar of strength has been our commitment to world-renowned research, our crucial aim today is to provide practical help to improve the quality of life of people living with muscular dystrophy.

Muscular Dystrophy WA CEO, Hayley Lethlean, says, “Muscular Dystrophy WA believes no one
should be defined by their condition. Thanks to the support of our many sponsors, donors and
volunteers throughout our 50 year history, we continue to serve the Muscular Dystrophy
community, enabling individuals to do the things they strive to achieve. Together, we approach
challenges to create solutions that empower full lives.”

50th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet – A historical walk down memory Lane

50th Anniversary Video


Birthday Bash – 26 November 2017

50th Anniversary Garden Gala – 2 September 2017

Spring had definitely sprung on Saturday 2 September, when lavish floral blooms and sparkling chandeliers greeted guests at Muscular Dystrophy WA’s 50th Anniversary Gala.

More than 250 guests packed into the Pan Pacific Golden Ballroom for the special occasion, hosted by Today Tonight’s Monika Kos.

Pre-dinner Pimms pop up bar and freshly shucked oysters by Andy Grljusich set the tone for an evening full of surprises.  Guests were treated to a spine tingling performance by Indi Singer/ Songwriter Bernardine, a centre stage show by aerobatic artist Miss Gail Force and a live painting by artist in residence, Jacob “Shakey” Butler.

Jacob painted a majestic white peacock which represented society’s ability to find beauty in nature’s flaws. The white peacock is born with a genetic mutation and we see this as unique and beautiful, people with muscular dystrophy are also born with genetic mutations. Jacob’s message was about accepting and celebrating our flaws and differences.

Our great friend Tiny Holly led a spirited auction assisted by fellow Ambassador, Simon Beaumont.

Some of the most popular auction items were stunning digitized artworks, painted by children in the muscular dystrophy community.

Guests were also given the opportunity to pledge to the MPowerment Fund. This potentially life-changing new initiative will enable members of the muscular dystrophy community to live more empowered, full lives, through the provision of practical financial support.

Once the formalities were over, we kicked up our heels as Proof the Band kept everyone on the dancefloor until midnight.

Most heart-warming of all during the Gala was the overwhelming sense of friendship, spirit and community – we were all there for the same reason – we are connected by muscular dystrophy and are willing to make a difference.  Together we are better.

Muscular Dystrophy WA 50th Anniversary Breakfast – 13 April 2017

On 13 April 2017, over 230 past and present supporters gathered at Frasers State Function Centre for breakfast to celebrate Muscular Dystrophy WA’s 50th Birthday.  Following in the footsteps of our founders who gathered to form our Association some 50 years earlier to the day, together we celebrated, recognised and reflected on the past five decades.

We celebrated what has been achieved so far, the many scientific advances and welfare support across many facets of our community. Not the least of these has been our very successful Carrier Detection and Genetic Counselling program which has helped so many families. We highlighted just how far we’ve come in connecting communities, families and care and providing practical help to improve the quality of life for people living with muscular dystrophy today.
We recognised the people, efforts and supporters that have got us to where we are today – the volunteers, Honorary Life Members, partners, sponsors and of course our Muscular Dystrophy Community. And we reflected on those who have been part of the journey, who are no longer with us today.

Perhaps most remarkable of all, is the sense of genuine connection, spirit and community that existed in the room that morning. It is a testimony to the heart and soul of our organisation. It is the key driver that has guided us for the past 50 years, and will see us still standing strong in another 50. Thank you.