Westminster Alum Hannah Warren Encourages Community Through Her Battle with Myotonic Dystrophy

MEMPHIS, TN – DECEMBER 18: of the Memphis Grizzlies visits with children on December 18, 2017 at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Westminster Academy began hosting the MDA Mid-South Muscle Walk  in 2018 and committed to supporting MDA with fundraising efforts. We have a deep connection to MDA through the Warren family.
In May of 2014, Hannah Warren, a 2018 graduate of Westminster Academy, was officially diagnosed with Myotonic Dystrophy (type 1), a form of Muscular Dystrophy. In so many ways, her battle came into the hallways and classrooms of Westminster, as she had to tote her oxygen tanks around the Upper School or Skype into classrooms to catch a lecture from her hospital bed. Though she persevered in her treatments, the winter seasons proved to be particularly challenging for Hannah and her illness. She spent several weeks over the holidays, including Christmas in both 2017 and 2018, at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.
While Hannah put on a face of courage amidst her struggle, her school community was inspired to support her in any and every way they could. Hannah formed the “Hannah’s Hope” team for the MDA Muscle Walk, and her classmates and school community rallied behind by joining her with the WA4MDA team. The students and faculty also contributed to fundraising by selling t-shirts, holding bake sales, and putting on a car wash.

“Through her daily perseverance and courage, Hannah has taught us all to be far more empathetic and others-directed,” said Westminster Headmaster Ralph Janikowsky.

Last year, Westminster Academy partnered with the local MDA chapter to host the Mid-South area Muscle Walk on campus, because the event was beginning to outgrow its previous location. During last year’s event, Hannah’s entire class served the Mid-South MDA community by setting up for the walk, fundraising, and covering clean-up duty after the event. In 2018, Hannah’s team raised over $20,000 towards research for muscular disorders, bringing her three-year fundraising total to over $31,000.

Westminster Headmaster Ralph Janikowsky with Hannah (’18) and her parents.

This year, the school will once again host the walk on Saturday, April 6 from 10-12. There will be fire trucks, face painting, food trucks, and games to enjoy. Please bring your family and friends to participate, and consider joining the fundraising efforts through “Change for Change” in the classroom or by joining the team. All of the proceeds from the walk go towards research and support for families in the Mid-South like Hannah’s.

To join the Hannah’s Hope/WA4MDA team, click HERE