On Saturday, December 26, 2015, Debbie's 9 year struggle with multiple system atrophy (MSA) came to an end. Debbie lived a life full of love, family, friends, pets, creativity and adventure. Debbie married the love of her life, Erol, in 1972 on a pirate ship off the coast of California (Seriously, they got married on a PIRATE SHIP). She fiercely loved her sons, Mischa, Eric, and Christopher; her daughter-in-law, Ausra; and her three grandchildren, Luka, Aila, and Kieran. In addition to filling the house with family, Debbie loved animals and opened her home to more than 6 dogs, 7 cats and countless koi fish over the years. Debbie will be extraordinarily missed by all who were lucky enough to have known her.
Debbie's fight with MSA began in 2007, but was not formally diagnosed until 2010. MSA is a rare and fatal degenerative neurologic disorder. It is similar to parkinsonism but with more widespread effects on the brain and body. It affects both men and women and usually starts in the 50's or early 60's. The cause of MSA is unclear and there are no known risk factors. At this time, there are no specific symptoms, blood tests, or imaging studies that definitely diagnose MSA and there is no cure. The prognosis for this disease is poor with most patients passing away from the disease or its complications within 6 years of the diagnosis, Debbie's fight lasted for 9.
The MSA coalition is focused on facilitating and funding MSA research. We ask that donations are made in honor of Debbie's memory to aid in the discovery of a cure for this devastating disease.