Minnesota guitarist honored for his fight against Focal Dystonia

3:21 PM, Apr 7, 2010   |    comments
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TWIN CITIES - April 7, 2010 - Renowned Twin Cities guitarist Billy McLaughlin will be recognized with an international award for refusing to let a neuromuscular disorder called Focal Dystonia ruin his career, by literally switching hands to play his complicated style of music.

The "2010 Public Leadership in Neurology Award" will be given to McLaughlin by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation (AAN). Past awardees and speakers have included Michael J. Fox, Paul Allen, Dame Julie Andrews, Leeza Gibbons, Cuba Gooding, Jr., the Honorable Janet Reno, and others.

As the recipient of the 2010 Public Leadership Award, McLaughlin will deliver the keynote address at the Academy's 2010 Awards Luncheon. It will be held on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in Toronto, Ontario. In Billy's honor, the American Academy of Neurology will donate $5,000 to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation based in Chicago.

"It is a distinguished honor to be recognized for my contribution to making more visible the reality of Focal Dystonia which affects musicians, professional athletes, men, women and children from every walk of life," says McLaughlin, a single father of two, living in the Twin Cities' suburb of White Bear Lake. "I am humbled and honored to receive this award and dedicate it to the thousands of people worldwide suffering from neurological complications that affect their quality of life."

"I also want to acknowledge my immediate family and my two teenaged sons, who have tolerated my life as a musician battling such a destructive condition," McLaughlin continued. "I deeply appreciate your sacrifices and your struggle to understand this medical challenge and know they were often just as hard as mine."

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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