Mom Organizes Annual Day at Zoo to Bring Awareness to Daughters' Rare Disorder

6th Cincinnati Dystonia Zoo Walk Supports Research for a Cure
The Phelps girls experience painful muscle spasms throughout their bodies.
The Phelps girls experience painful muscle spasms throughout their bodies.
CINCINNATI - Aug. 26, 2018 - PRLog -- Mother of four Melissa Phelps is on a mission to improve awareness of dystonia and find a cure for daughters Olivia (age 8) and Madison (age 5). "There are days where my children can't just be children and move freely to play and do the things children should be able to do." Phelps explains. "They are trapped inside their own bodies." Phelps is a member of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF)'s Community Leadership Council. Phelps has traveled to Washington, DC as a legislative advocate, earned the DMRF's Douglas Kramer Young Advocacy Award, and founded the Cincinnati & Northern KY Dystonia Support Group.

Dystonia is a chronic, often disabling, neurological disorder marked by involuntary movements and abnormal postures of the body and limbs. There are numerous manifestations of dystonia that impact people of all ages and backgrounds. The Phelps girls were born with tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency, a rare metabolic disease that causes generalized dystonia. They experience painful muscle spasms in their limbs, hands, feet, neck, face, and tongue as well as complications affecting their respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation ( is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing research for improved dystonia treatments and ultimately a cure, promoting awareness, and supporting the well-being of affected individuals and families.

Cincinnati is one of 13 cities in the US to host a Dystonia Zoo Walk in 2018. Last year, Zoo Walks in 12 cities drew over 5,000+ participants. The purpose of this family-friendly day at the zoo is to raise awareness of dystonia and funds for medical research toward a cure. Fees are $25 for adults /$15 for children (12 and under) and include zoo admission, refreshments, and t-shirt. There will be games, face painting, door prizes, and special guests. Proceeds benefit the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. September is Dystonia Awareness Month.

WHERE: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Peacock Pavilion, 3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220.

WHEN: Saturday, September 8, 2018. Rain or shine. Registration opens at 7:45am. Event begins at 9:00 am.

MEDIA: To schedule interviews and for more information, contact Melissa Phelps at 859-643-0104 or visit For more information about the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, contact 312-7655-0198 or

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation

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Tags:Dystonia, Tyrosine Hydroxylase Deficiency
Location:Cincinnati - Ohio - United States
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