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Medtronic Teams up with Patient Advocacy Leaders to Recognize Creativity of People Living with Spasticity

First-Ever Spasticity Awareness Campaign Debuts Calendar and Web Site Featuring Submissions From People Affected By Condition

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December 3, 2003
Business Wire

For the vast majority of people, strolling to the mailbox, brushing teeth and sweeping the floor are activities taken for granted. But for half-a-million Americans, these tasks are profoundly difficult due to spasticity, a debilitating condition that is characterized by tight, stiff muscles.

Unlike other serious medical conditions, there is no single resource or support system dedicated solely to spasticity. For this reason, medical technology leader Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT) teamed up with a consortium of advocacy organizations representing patients who cope with spasticity to create "Exploring Spasticity," a national educational program that aims to raise awareness of this debilitating condition, and bring together the community of individuals who are influenced by it daily.

"As a result of Medtronic's long history of working with physicians and physical therapists who treat patients with spasticity, we believe it is vital to generate awareness of the condition so that people better understand the needs and the challenges facing people who deal with spasticity," said Jon Tremmel, president of Medtronic Neurological. "Spasticity can be quite debilitating, yet is often under acknowledged. Our advocacy partners' reach will enable us to deliver a much-needed message of support to people living with spasticity."

The advocacy groups joined Medtronic to launch "Exploring Spasticity's" first project - a nationwide contest that invited people to creatively express what their "life with less spasticity" would be like. The submissions are featured in a 2004 calendar and on a Web site with resources for people affected by the condition. The participating advocacy groups include WE MOVE, Easter Seals, National Brain Injury Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and National Stroke Association.

"The lives of many people coping with spasticity are severely restricted, though modern therapies and technologies are working wonders for others," said Judith Blazer, executive director of WE MOVE. "We hope the calendar and Web site will reach out to those whose sense of isolation is as debilitating as their condition. We hope it can help bring people together - those coping with spasticity, those who may someday be affected, and their caregivers."

More than 50 calendar submissions were received, each uniquely capturing the impact of spasticity on daily life. The 13 winning entries feature written expressions, artwork and music, representing patients across the country. The judging panel, comprised of representatives from each advocacy organization, considered originality, content and expression.

The entrants are among the estimated 500,000 Americans who cope with spasticity - a discouraging and debilitating condition commonly associated with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury. It impedes movement and severely impacts the sufferers' quality of life.

Blazer encourages visits to the "Exploring Spasticity" Web site: "In addition to the gallery of creative entries, www.exploringspasticity.com shares the most recent information about spasticity and various treatment options. Our hope is that this program will inspire all of us to better appreciate the ability to move freely and to better understand those whose movements have been restricted by spasticity."

"Exploring Spasticity" submissions can be viewed on the Exploring Spasticity Web site at www.exploringspasticity.com. Available at no cost, the calendars can be ordered through the Web site, or by calling 1-800-731-2921.

More information about spasticity and movement disorders can be found on each advocacy group's Web site and at www.medtronic.com. Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT), headquartered in Minneapolis, is the world's leading medical technology company, providing lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease.

WE MOVE: www.wemove.org

Easter Seals: www.easter-seals.org

National Brain Injury Association: www.biausa.org

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: www.nmss.org

National Spinal Cord Injury Association: www.spinalcord.org

National Stroke Association: www.stroke.org

Any statements made about the company's anticipated financial results and regulatory approvals are forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in Medtronic's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended April 25, 2003. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.
 

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