Spotlight Session: Donald Wood on Researching Muscular Disease with His Heart

accessiBe News

We had the honor of talking with Donald S. Wood in one of our Spotlight Sessions, where he shared what accessibility and an inclusive world look like to him.

accessiBe Team

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been around for almost 40 years and has made great strides in research and knowledge regarding muscle disease and muscular dystrophy. People with neuromuscular diseases participate in the organization’s important trials to help find the cures needed for what causes them to live with disability characteristics and individuals like Donald. S Wood has made it his mission to help the cause. 

We had the pleasure of talking with Donald in one of our Spotlight Sessions, where he shared his heartfelt motivation behind joining the MDA and what accessibility and an inclusive world look like to him.

Here are some key takeaways from his interview: 

#1: AI has immense potential and influence 

“The positive thing that I'm going to say is it will move things faster. AI and AI technology, AI itself, can help identify therapies and drugs that can help us treat patients.”

AI has really progressed within the last decade and allowed researchers to remain steadfast and successful on many projects related to disabilities and neuromuscular disease. By providing the right technology to smart and capable individuals who care about finding solutions and treatments for those living with neuromuscular diseases, we are combining human strength and intellect with new AI capabilities that deliver results. 

#2: Leaders of tomorrow, pioneers of research

“This is where the families and the people with neuromuscular disease are actually when you think about it, the leaders in the advances that we're doing.”

Without the participation of people with neuromuscular diseases, it would be impossible to pursue valuable research and clinical trials. They’re partners on the journey to discovering new cures and treatment plans, and they’re the ones who guide us and help us take the next steps toward therapies, medicines, and accessibility. 

#3: Accessibility makes an impact

“The very first word that comes to mind with accessibility is power.”

People with disabilities, and those with muscular dystrophy, are allowed to do whatever they want, and whenever they want. Accessibility is the means by which we can empower people with disabilities and improve all fundamental aspects of everyday life. To take it a step further, accessibility in terms of power, is more than just transportation and assistive technology. It’s also about accessibility to jobs and exercising other areas of independence that people with neuromuscular disease should possess. 

#4: It starts with yourself

“The world would become a better place, would be a better place, if people would honor the good feelings they get from others or the help they get from others.”

Getting help or receiving assistance from other people contributes to the act of inclusion. Ongoing support and paying it forward assures a “feeling of good” and allows inclusion to come full circle - especially when ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities. If you consider how you would feel as a person who uses a wheelchair, you would wish for ramps in and outside of all buildings. As individuals with empathy, who understand that people with wheelchairs deserve equal entrance to all places of public accommodation, we need to put that feeling into motion and fight for it where it’s needed. 

Shine brighter

Donald S. Wood puts accessibility and inclusivity into a new perspective that requires the cooperative hands of all people involved in research and development. We all have the ability to make a difference and use our hearts and minds to create a better world for everyone. If you want to watch more of our Spotlight Sessions series, you can find them all here.

If you are a disability advocate or have a nonprofit organization and want to share your story with the world, contact accessiBe’s Nonprofit Partnership Program so we can get to know you better.