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Community leaders ‘go behind bars’ to help fight muscular dystrophy

Business and community leaders from the Franklin County area are being “locked up” – for a good cause.

Sept. 15 at Russellville Fire Station No. 1, members of the local community will be behind bars while they raise money for “bail” to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association. “Funds raised will help free kids and adults from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases that take away physical strength and mobility,” explains a press release about the event.

Many key leaders have volunteered to go behind bars as part of MDA’s fundraising program. During the event, these “jailbirds will be locked up for one hour as they attempt to raise bail by calling on their friends, family and colleagues to contribute to MDA’s life-saving mission.

“Any time you have a chance to help – to give back to the community – I hope people would do that for me if they had the opportunity to make a difference, and I want to do the same,” said RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes, who will be one such “prisoner.” Having a friend who has fought muscular dystrophy, the mission is personal for Grimes – and he’s not alone.

“Many MDA families in Franklin County are faced with the daily challenges brought on by the effects of diseases like muscular dystrophy, ALS and spinal muscular atrophy. Everyday freedoms like walking, talking and even breathing can be taken away by these muscle-debilitating diseases,” said MDA executive director Terri Wilson. “But with support from our generous Lock-Up participants and community members, we can help change that by raising critical funds and awareness that will help kids and adults break free from the barriers that these life-threatening diseases often bring.”

The goal for this event is to raise $15,000 for families fighting muscle disease.

For Wanda Baker, vice president at Valley State Bank, this will be the second time she has participated in an MDA “lock-up” event.

“I always try to help anybody who calls,” Baker said. “I know they do a lot for children, and anything for children is good.”

Bail money raised at the upcoming event will help MDA fund groundbreaking research and life-enhancing programs, such as support groups and clinical care at 150 Care Centers across the country, including the MDA Care Centers at Children’s Hospital and Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham.  Money raised also helps send more than 60 children to enjoy “the best week of the year” at MDA summer camp at Camp ASCCA at no cost to families.

Another local participant will be Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Cassie Medley. “Somebody wants me locked up,” Medley joked. “I think it’s great way to raise awareness and funds at the same time.” Although Medley might escape the lock-up for a chamber board meeting, she said she will still help to fundraise for the MDA.

To learn more about the MDA Lock-Up program and how to get involved, contact Wilson at 205-823-8191; by email at; or visit