Ethan Schachter was born with a rare genetic disease, nemaline myopathy type 2—a type of muscular dystrophy—that disproportionately affects Ashkenazi Jews. It’s not always fatal, but Ethan, at 20 months, needs round-the-clock care, including a machine to help him breathe and a tube for nutrition. He can’t walk or talk because his muscles are too weak. Currently, there is no cure.
Doctors have only known about this form of the disease for about 15 years. And it’s so rare—only one in 47,000 people have it—that couples trying to conceive aren’t automatically screened for it in Canada, where Ethan is one of maybe four or five kids who live with the condition.
Ethan’s mother, Toba Cooper, wants to change things. She recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise more than a million dollars to help researchers develop a made-in-Canada treatment for her son’s condition. And she hopes to raise awareness so the condition could be added to the list of eligible tests. Cooper joins The CJN Daily today along with Jim Dowling, a doctor at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, who is one of the world’s foremost experts on this rare disease.
What we talked about:
- Donate to Toba Cooper’s crowdfunder
- Learn more about nemaline myopathy type 2
- Learn about Jewish genetic diseases awareness testing
The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.