New nonprofit to battle genetic disease

Gila Michael

Malibu resident Gila Michael, founder of the Neuromuscular Disease Foundation, recently formed another nonprofit with the help of concerned community members to search for a cure for Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy. This is a genetic muscle-wasting disease affecting mainly young adults in their late teens and 20s. Discovered eight years ago in Jerusalem, it is characterized by a gradual weakening of the arm and leg muscles, leading to complete disability over a span of three to 10 years.

A gala dinner last month at the Beverly Hills Hotel raised more than $500,000 to help cure HIBM. It was attended by Paula Abdul, Larry King, Robert Shapiro, Howie Mandel, Joan Rivers, Nancy Sinatra, Melissa Rivers, Rosanna Arquette, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Jack Scalia.

Michael has voiced the need to raise $5 million during the next three years to aid in research. Her daughter, a medical doctor, wife and new mother, has contracted HIBM and is one of many who are counting on contributions. To make donations or for further information, contact Michael at 310.276.2980.