On the outside Mollie Beth Preston of Slapout looks like a typical 9-year-old girl but three years ago she suddenly became very sick.
Preston was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, an inflammatory disease of the muscle, skin, and blood vessels that affects about three in 1 million children each year.
The primary symptoms of JDM include muscle weakness and skin rash; the cause is unknown.
Preston also has Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that can cause hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid in which the immune system attacks the thyroid.
Preston, who has been plagued by these devastating illnesses for almost three years, is the 2019 Alabama Muscular Dystrophy Association ambassador who will participate in an MDA Walk in October. A fundraiser is also being held for her team.
“We will be holding an antique photo fundraiser for Mollie’s MDA walk team,” said Preston’s mother Jessica. “A $10 donation will get you a coupon that covers the sitting fee and one free 10-by-13 antique-style photo of your child or children.”
The photo shoot will be July 27, Jessica Preston said, but if there are enough pre-sales an additional session on July 26is possible. Both sessions will be held at the Kiligee Lodge, located at 5588 Chana Creek Rd. in the Kent community, and all antique clothing and props will be furnished.
Last year, Preston escaped the limits of her disease when she attended Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults, better known as Camp ASCCA, on
Lake Martin. While there she enjoyed ziplining, swimming, dancing and horseback
“She came home and that’s all she talked about,” Jessica Preston said. “She has made so
many friends through the camp and they have stayed in contact.”
Fees for those who attend Camp ASCCA are paid through donations and other funding. After spending five days there, Preston decided to pay it forward and raise money for the organization that brought so much fun and joy to her life by creating a Muscular Dystrophy Association walk. This is the second year her team has participated in the annual event.
“Last year we had a team that raised $2,500,” Jessica Preston said. “This money goes to the
MDA but they use it to help children go to camp because they do not charge the
campers if they could pay or not.”
While Hashimoto’s disease and juvenile dermatomyositis are different illness than
MDA, the effects on the body can be very similar.
“It’s day to day,” Jessica said. “Some days are good and some days are not so good. Her body is fighting. Her schedule, germs, the sun, her diet, all limits her but on the outside she looks normal. That can be frustrating.”
Jessica Preston said seeing her daughter deal with the effects of these illnesses has been
difficult to watch because she is a strong-willed child.
“She was so strong and outgoing but now there are things that she can’t do
anymore” she said. “She still wants to do those things, like play in the sun, but she can’t.”
For more information or donate to Preston’s MDA team fundraiser, go to