Community leaders, business owners and individuals in Miami raised $22,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association last week.

Thursday, representatives of the Joplin district MDA office ended their “locked up” fund-raising event at the Coleman Theater. Community members donned horizontal stripes or blaze orange wardrobes and became jailbirds for the day.

Inmates, representing a wide spectrum of the community, were required to raise $650 in “bond money” to be released from confinement.

“The required bail is enough to send one child to MDA summer camp,” said MDA District Director Lacey Washburn. “This community has been wonderful.”

Muscular Dystrophy is a group of genetic, hereditary muscle diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness. Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins and the death of muscle cells and tissue. In some forms of MD, cardiac and smooth muscles are affected. There are over 100 different forms of muscular dystrophy.

According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, between 50,000 and 250,000 people are affected by MD each year -many of them children.

Each year MDA supports nearly 90 summer camps across the country. MDA Camp is a place where year-round skills are developed and where a child with a disability can just be a kid.

In addition to knowledgeable camp staff and medical personnel, most campers have his or her own one-on-one volunteer, who helps with all aspects of both fun and personal care.

The camp has been in place since 1955 and, according to testimonials from campers, the week they spend there is the “best week of the year.”

“Without support from communities like this one, MDA summer camp would not be possible,” Washburn said.

Each year about three weeks prior to the MDA fund-raising event in Miami, “repeat offenders” and nominated community members receive a packet to begin raising money for the “locked up” campaign.

On the day of the event local firefighters comb the community and escort MDA convicts to a make-shift jail set up at the Coleman Theater. The “jailbirds” turn in their pledges and are released from confinement.

Sometimes unsuspecting citizens are captured by nomination and must make phone calls to family and friends in an attempt to raise bail through pledges.

Representatives of Bordertown Bingo raised the largest bond during this year's event - $2,476.

Anyone wishing to participate in next year's MDA “locked up” campaign can contact the Joplin district MDA office at 417-781-8600.