Meet 18-year-old Maddy Gunawan who is living Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. SMA is one of nine types of muscular dystrophy.

Maddy hasn’t let her disability stop her from living life unlimited. Last fall, she started her freshman year at Georgia State University and recently joined the Delta Delta Chapter of Delta Zeta. Additionally, Maddy is excited to serve as one of only three 2019 MDA Georgia State Ambassadors.

According to Maddy, MDA “has made the biggest impact in my life with resources and support system it has given me. I’m ready to represent the Association on a greater level, especially for young adults in the state.”

On Dec. 23, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved nusinersen (brand name Spinraza) for the treatment of SMA. Spinraza is designed to treat the underlying defect in SMA, which means it potentially may be effective at slowing, stopping or perhaps reversing the symptoms of SMA.