My hero and brother Austin is a great kid who also happens to have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He is 12 years old. He is a very happy boy who despite so many challenges in his young life, faces each day with a smile on his face and the desire to help others.
Duchenne, a progressively fatal disease with no known cure, starts by affecting the body’s extremities rendering them useless. As the disease progresses, the heart and lungs are attacked leading to failure. Austin was diagnosed with DMD at 6 years old.
He became Kansas City’s Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in 2011, raising awareness and helping with numerous fundraisers to help fund research to help find cures. He continues to be a spokesperson for the MDA. All he wants is to help raise that “one more dollar” that is needed to help stop his and other muscle diseases in their tracks, so kids like him can live longer, more fulfilling lives.
He personally has raised over $20,000 for the MDA, attends numerous MDA events throughout the year and he continues to be a Shamrock Ambassador for several local stores each year.
Austin’s also goes to the University of Kansas Medical Center each year, speaking to second year medical students, about what it’s like living with a neuromuscular disease and how it affects the entire family unit in non-medical ways.
In June of 2012, at the age of 10, Austin completely lost the ability to walk, and relies on a power wheelchair to get around. Due to Austin’s continued progression of DMD, my parents are in desperate need of a fully accessible vehicle. They currently own a Kia Spectra which requires someone to lift him in and out of the vehicle and he can only take his manual chair with that car. Their other vehicle is a 1995 Chevy van with over 110,000 miles and is beginning to have problems with the lift system, which is no longer made and no parts are available for it.
My mom is 56 and has a very bad back. My step-father is 54 and recently had double knee replacement surgery. Austin needs the ability to get around and live his life to the fullest, so that he can continue to promote awareness for muscular dystrophy and raise needed funding to help find treatments and cures.
Please vote for my brother Austin!