Andrew Glenn Butler was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Type I, in March 2009. His battle with SMA ended on June 4, 2009, when he was just 20 weeks old. However, his family’s fight for a cure for this insidious disease continues. Together, we are committed to sharing Andy’s story, spreading the word about SMA and providing support to other families affected by it.
Be a part of Andy’s Army and tell someone you know about SMA today:
- SMA is the #1 genetic killer of children under the age of two, yet most people have never heard of it.
- Spinraza, the first treatment for SMA, received broad label approval from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration on December 23, 2016 to treat all types of SMA and ages. ZOLGENSMA (gene therapy) was approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration on May 24, 2019 to treat SMA in children under 2. On August 7, 2020, Evrysdi was approved as the first oral treatment for all types of SMA.
- SMA is estimated to occur in nearly one out of every 10,000 births. Newborn screening for SMA will lead to early treatment and can help save lives.
- The gene mutation that causes SMA is unknowingly carried by approximately eight million Americans – one person in every 40 – making it the second most common autosomal recessive genetic disorder behind Cystic Fibrosis.
- SMA is a pan-ethnic disease and does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, or gender – currently, 50,000 people in the United States, Europe and Japan are living with SMA.
- Some statistics show SMA to be TWICE as common as ALS/Lou Gehrigs.
- SMA children with the most severe form often face quickly increasing muscle weakness, leading to paralysis and, ultimately, death.
- The American College of Medical Genetics recommends that SMA carrier testing be made available to ALL couples planning a family, regardless of ethnicity or family history.
- Carrier testing is done through a simple blood or saliva test, and it is readily available. Please ask your doctor for testing if you plan to have a child.
Dear Andy, I haven’t written a birthday letter to you for the past few years. I tried, but the words didn’t come easily. Today, on your 15th birthday, I thought I would try again. I’m supposed to be working now, … Continue reading
“Dusk is just an illusion because the sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are there cannot be one without the other yet … Continue reading
For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, We remember them.” – Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer Dear Andy, I remember the day you were born like it … Continue reading
It was hot and muggy the day that you left us, but I only remember feeling cold. I know that I was in shock, but the chill I felt seemed fitting. I was sure in those first raw moments of … Continue reading
Dear Andy, Let me start your annual birthday letter with a story… Before Christmas, your father, your little sister Lucy, your little brother Will, and I were browsing in the Disney store. Seemingly out of nowhere, a Buzz Lightyear toy sparked … Continue reading
It was a sleepless night in the pediatric intensive care unit of the hospital, but your daddy and I didn’t realize it would be your last. We knew that you had taken a turn for the worse, but didn’t understand … Continue reading
Dear Andy, Today is your 8th birthday, and we’re having a party – in part to mark the first anniversary of my business and also as an excuse to invite our friends and family over. It’s a reason to get … Continue reading
Dear Andy, It’s storming outside as I sit here, trying to find the words for my annual letter to you. Torrential rain lashes against the windows. The sky is foreboding and gray, punctuated with angry flashes of lightening. Thunder booms … Continue reading
Dear Andy, Today is your seventh birthday – a celebration of the day that you were welcomed into the world and the start of our family. Our house should be filled with your little friends, birthday presents, and balloons. You … Continue reading
You get the diagnosis. Your child has spinal muscular atrophy. Until that moment, those words – and the letters SMA – were meaningless to you. Now they are your greatest enemy. You prepare yourself to fight. You dig in, past … Continue reading
On July 25th, we lost a friend. Gwendolyn Strong was – and always will be – such a huge inspiration to us. Her family was always there for ours, standing beside us in our despair and celebrating our triumphs. When … Continue reading
Dear Andy, Today is Thursday, June 4. It’s the first “official” day of summer vacation for your little sister and brother. The sun is shining, and the day looks like it will be a hot one. Daddy and I are … Continue reading
Dear Andy, Your little brother Will recently started pointing to your picture on our family room wall and saying, “Baa-bee?” I tell him that the baby in question is you, his big brother. Not understanding, he points to his own … Continue reading
From our family to yours, we wish you a holiday season filled with happiness and hope…and maybe a little snow. Love, The Butler Family – Alan, Audra, Lucy, Will & Our Angel Andy
“At any given moment, you have the power to say ‘This is NOT how the story is going to end.’” Dear Andy, I’ve been writing – and rewriting – this letter to you for weeks, as I counted down to … Continue reading
May God give you…For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song, … Continue reading
Dear Andy, Today is your fifth birthday. It’s a Wednesday, which means your father is at work and your little sister Lucy is at pre-school. Your baby brother Will is playing at my feet. I’m sitting in the rocking chair … Continue reading
We are thrilled to announce that we received a Legacy Honoree Award, on behalf of Andy’s Army, at the January 6, 2014, Live Your Legacy Summit! Here we are accepting this prestigious award with Summit host and organizer, Aurea McGarry. … Continue reading
Wednesday, January 8, would have been Andy’s fifth birthday. It’s hard for me to comprehend that it’s been five years since he entered this world – and left it so abruptly. After all of these years, the pain of his … Continue reading
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…from our family to yours. With love, Alan, Audra, Lucy, Will and Our Angel Andy