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Andersson helps kids escape for a day

by Craig Peterson / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT — Like many Red Wings, forward Joakim Andersson donates tickets to each home game to welcome special guests to Joe Louis Arena.

Andersson chose to host one child with a muscular disorder or muscular dystrophy and his or her guardian from the Detroit chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association through his 'Andy’s Avengers' community program.

“I came up with that in the summer and I thought it was a good thing to do,” Andersson said. “I know people who has muscle diseases so I thought that was something good for me to do.”

And like many Wings, Andersson’s cause comes from his own experiences and being personally affected by something that also affects many people in the community.

“My girlfriend’s dad has a muscle disease so I know what he goes through,” he said. “He’s doing well though I think. He needs some help here and there obviously but he really wants to do his own thing. He tried to have as little help as possible so I know what it is.”

Having a personal connection to the disorder allows Andersson to make a connection with other people who are being affected as well. That connection makes his contribution more meaningful to him knowing that he can help alleviate people’s situations and enjoy a night out at the rink.

Being involved in the community is important to Andersson and with the rest of his teammates as well as coach Mike Babcock involved in their own ways as well, the Wings put an emphasis on giving back to the people of Detroit.

“People look up to us, obviously,” Andersson said. “We’re hockey players, people watch a lot of the Red Wings, especially Michigan people. Red Wings are big people for the community and I think we all should do something to make kids or people who have a hard time happy or help them some way.”

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a genetic disorder that weakens the muscles over time so children, teens and adults who have the disease can gradually lose the ability to do things over time. It is a genetic disorder, meaning that people are born with the problem and life expectancy depends on the degree to which a person’s muscles are weakened as well as how much the heart and lungs are affected.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neuromuscular diseases. The MDA funds worldwide research, provides comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide.

The Detroit chapter of MDA, located in Southfield, Mich., has several fundraising events such as the Monroe 2015 Lock Up, the MDA Muscle Walk of Detroit and MDA Muscle Walk of Greater Lansing Area, which help raise funds and awareness for muscular dystrophy.

For more details on these events and information about muscular disorders, visit www.mda.org to help fight muscle disease.

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