MDA Awardee Cuizon On Sept. 7 Telethon

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - News - BySARAHPACHECO

For­mer Wa­ialua res­i­dent James Cuizon has been cho­sen to rep­re­sent Hawaii as its 2009 Robert Ross Per­sonal Achieve­ment Award win­ner for the Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy As­so­ci­a­tion.

“I didn’t re­ally ex­pect to be named for this award,” said Cuizon, 31. “It feels re­ally ex­cit­ing to be named by them. I’m re­ally flat­tered.”

That hu­mil­ity is one rea­son he’s MDA’s Hawaii Chap­ter nom­i­nee. The other is his com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing his com­mu­nity: The HPU grad was in­stru­men­tal in get­ting the Ban­zai Rock skate park go­ing and has served on the North Shore Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Cuizon also helps raise aware­ness and funds for MDA, de­spite hav­ing Char­cot-Marie-Tooth dis­ease him­self. CMT dam­ages the pe­riph­eral nerves and causes symp­toms such as mus­cle weak­ness and wast­ing, loss of sen­sa­tion in the ex­trem­i­ties, cur­va­ture of the spine and stiff­ened joints.

“The dis­ease is hered­i­tary, so I knew it would even­tu­ally af­fect me,” ex­plained Cuizon, who was di­ag­nosed in his early 20s. In fact, af­ter clos­ing his North Shore sports store Crank and Carve ear­lier this year ( “We fell vic­tims to the re­ces­sion”), he moved to Wa­ianae to as­sist his two un­cles, who also have mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy.

“I guess I’m a role model for every­one with MD,” he said. “It’s not just me or my fam­ily. I re­al­ized it was a dis­ease that af­fected a lot of peo­ple. Do­ing events like the Bowl-a-Thon or Jamba Juice Ba­nana Man Chase is more a way for me to help out the or­ga­ni­za­tion that has helped us and other peo­ple who have the dis­ease.”

Cuizon will ac­cept his award dur­ing the live lo­cal broad­cast of the 2009 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon Sept. 7 on KITV. One state awardee will be se­lected for the MDA’s na­tional 2010 award.

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