To promote a healthy lifestyle and to spread awareness about muscular dystrophy, activist Nawal Akram is joining hands with Four Seasons Hotel Doha to organise a Zumba class at the hotel.
The complimentary 60-minute Zumba class will be held at the Garden Terrace on May 14. Nawal is a Pakistan expatriate who is suffering from the condition and recently formed her own organisation Muscular Dystrophy (MD) Qatar to create awareness about the disease and to help people with similar condition.
The Zumba class is part of her campaign, ‘Move a Muscle’, which aims at creating awareness about MD by encouraging people to ‘move a muscle for those who cannot.’ “I have used Zumba to lose a lot of weight in the past and I really liked it. I have been doing it with my family and friends and recently I approached the Four Seasons with the idea and they were really keen on organising a session,” Nawal told Community.
“One thing about Zumba is that it keeps you excited whether you are sitting down and dancing or whether you are standing up and dancing, it keeps you hyped,” she added. She is herself looking forward to actively participating in the session.
MD weakens muscles over time, so children, teens, and adults who have the disease can gradually lose the ability to do the things most people take for granted, like walking or sitting up. Someone with MD might start having muscle problems as a baby or the symptoms might start later. Some people even develop MD as adults.
Nawal’s organisation MD Qatar aims to increase awareness about muscular dystrophy, the importance of early intervention, the search for better treatments and help raise awareness in the community to people to gain knowledge to those who are not aware of Muscular Dystrophy.
Through MD Qatar, she also aims to encourage further research on muscular dystrophy in Qatar. Nawal says the people with MD can only get through by remaining active and healthy by watching their weight. “It is not hard to eat healthy, but to maintain a good weight is difficult especially when you cannot be as active as other people are,” says Nawal. Through her initiative, she also wants to create awareness that if you have the power to move your muscles, do it. In the long term, this disease affects every muscle in your body, your lungs and heart, except your brain.
“I think we are living in a generation where we have the knowledge and we have the funds, so why not do research on it and create medicine to help the people affected by this disease to live long, be active and enjoy their lives like others do,” she suggests.
Through MD Qatar, which she is trying to get registered, she plans to provide a support system that people with the ailment can reach out to and find help. Besides, she wants to use it to create awareness and encourage research into finding a cure for the disease which is yet not curable.
She wanted to have a community together where people, teenagers and others, who have MD, talk to each other and look for a support system. For now, she is focusing on raising awareness about the disease and how to fight it through social media initiatives by engaging influencers and bloggers. Recently, a bodybuilding team from ‘Supplement House’ supported her cause.
Her personal life goal and aim is to create charities that financially fund people with muscular dystrophy for their medical bills because not everyone can afford it, she says.
“There are a lot of medical bills, it is really expensive at times. And with having a disability, depression does come along,” says Nawal.
Disability can happen to anyone at any time, says Nawal; and when it does suddenly happen, it leaves the victims confused, going through emotion which does often lead to depression.
Muscular dystrophy affects people worldwide. Its incidence varies, as some forms are more common than others. Some types of MD are more prevalent in certain countries and regions of the world. Most MDs are genetic, where there is some family history of the disease.
REACHING OUT: Through her organisation MD Qatar, Nawal aims to create awareness about the disease.