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Sacramento, Calif. – Four-year-old UC Davis patient Kayla Vittek, and her doctor, Craig McDonald, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation who specializes in the treatment of children and adults with muscular dystrophy, will be featured during a segment of the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon.

McDonald directs the adult neuromuscular disease and the pediatric rehabilitation outpatient clinics as well as the Muscular Dystrophy Association Neuromuscular Disease Clinic at UC Davis. He is also the physician for Vittek, who is will be the youngest of “Jerry’s Kids” featured in the telethon. Vittek, of Rocklin, suffers from myotonic muscular dystrophy.

Vittek suffers from myotonic muscular dystrophy, a congenital, chronic form of the condition with broad, multi-system effects occurring at birth, including problems with mobility, vision, and cognition. Although Kayla was severely affected at birth, McDonald said that she has made remarkable progress, walking with the assistance of leg braces and learning to communicate using sign language.

“She has made great strides,” McDonald said.

Kayla’s story will be one of only a handful highlighted during the telethon, which in Sacramento will be broadcast on KCRA TV NBC Channel 3. The fundraiser features dozens of celebrities and garners millions of dollars in support for research into treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy. The event is in its 43rd year of operation.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital is the Sacramento region’s only comprehensive hospital for children. From primary care offices to specialty and intensive care clinics, pediatric experts provide compassionate care to more than 100,000 children each year and conduct research on causes and improved treatments for conditions such as autism, asthma, obesity, cancer and birth defects.

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