About the Summit of Strength Program
The Summit of Strength is a free community educational program hosted by Cure SMA.
This program is currently in its fifth year, after four successful years of bringing together over 3,000 attendees from across the U.S.
Summits are crafted to provide people of all ages and types of SMA, and their caregivers, the opportunity to network and learn about the latest advances in treatment, care, advocacy, and support.
This local engagement highlights Cure SMA’s core values and further strengthens the bonds that make our communities so vibrant!
How To Participate
Join us for your local educational event.
Spread the Word
Invite family, friends, and caregivers – All are welcome!
Learn from Experts
Engage with interactive presentations from local and national professionals.
Join Us for Summits of Strength
Connect with Peers
Summits of Strength allow individuals with SMA and their caregivers an opportunity to network and connect with peers, as well as with leading experts in SMA research and care.
Advance Your Knowledge
Each summit offers a unique agenda of topics ranging from standard of care, research and clinical trials, navigating the special education process, stress management techniques, and much more!
Meet Chapter Leaders
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the leaders of their local Cure SMA chapter. This local engagement strengthens the bonds that make our community so vibrant!
Cure SMA Story Spotlight
Doug McCullough's Story
Before connecting with Cure SMA years ago, Doug McCullough had never met anyone else who had SMA. Doug has SMA Type 3 and works hard to promote inclusion of people with disabilities. He is an avid sports fan and participates in adaptive sports, such as cycling, kayaking, snow and water skiing, surfing, canoeing, and camping.
Those in the SMA community often feel a roller coaster of emotions as they face diagnosis, treatment, and daily life. “Despite the historical stigma of disabilities, I never thought of myself as disabled growing up and worked to hide my ‘shortcomings’ as much as possible. I learned SMA doesn’t define me, but it is part of who I am,” said Doug.
Lighting Up the Night:
Shaakira Thomas and Family
Shaakira and her husband, Parris Sr., are parents to Aaliyah, Kassian, and four-year-old Parris Jr., who was diagnosed with SMA. Shaakira and Parris Sr. first noticed something amiss when Parris Jr. started walking. “He had a little wobble, and it took until just before his third birthday for us to get a diagnosis of SMA,” shared Shaakira.
Despite her son’s challenges, Shaakira believes that SMA has made her family stronger. Shaakira helps support the SMA community by researching buildings that ‘light up’ for days of recognition and ensuring major landmarks across the US go purple to raise SMA awareness.
Getting in the Game:
Brady Chan and Family
Ten-year-old Brady Chan from North Carolina has big goals that stem from his passion for video games. He is part of an e-gaming team, where his favorite games include “Brawl Starts” and “Overwatch.” In the future, Brady hopes to become an engineer and create his own video games.
Brady was diagnosed with SMA at 18 months old. Mimi, Brady’s mom says “Brady is a confident, young man with a magnetic personality. He loves reading, learning, gaming, and writing poetry. Brady loves conversation and has never had problems making friends. He does, however, see very clearly that SMA keeps him from doing things his friends can do. Sometimes, that’s okay. He doesn’t have to play on the mulched playground, and instead created a soccer crew.”