Residents, Politicians Bring Awareness To Dystonia

Gary Smith and his wife Marguerite Weiss accept a proclamation from Gary Quinn (right), Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners naming June as Dystonia Awareness Month in Ocean County. Weiss, who is afflicted with the disease, told the Commissioners of her experiences and treatments and thanked the Board for bringing attention to this neurological disorder. (Photo courtesy Ocean County)

  OCEAN COUNTY – Affecting more than 300,000 people in the United States alone, Ocean County has proclaimed June as Dystonia Awareness Month.

  Dystonia is a neurological disorder, often characterized by involuntary muscle contractions causing abnormal repetitive movements and/or postures that may impede the ability to walk, speak, see, write, and control the posture of the head.

  At a recent meeting of the Ocean County Commissioners, residents Marguerite S. Weiss and her husband Gary Smith accepted a proclamation naming June as Dystonia Awareness Month in Ocean County.

  Director of the Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn thanked Weiss and her husband for their efforts in raising awareness about the disease.

  “We are honored to have you here today and we thank you for coming and sharing your experiences,” Quinn said.

  Weiss explained how she can now walk on her own after undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation and other treatments. She previously was only able to walk no more than a few steps, having to rely on a scooter and wheelchair.

  “I am so grateful to be among the lucky ones who benefits from this procedure,” Weiss said.

  She also thanked the Commissioners for bringing much-needed attention to the disorder.

“Most people don’t know what dystonia is. They think it’s a country in Eastern Europe,” Weiss joked. “I truly appreciate your efforts to educate people about this condition.”

  Weiss hopes that by sharing her experiences publicly it will help and encouragement to others.

  “Raising awareness about dystonia may provide better understanding, compassion, and support for Dystonia sufferers as well as continued research, which may ultimately result in a cure,” she said.