A seven-year-old Maltese boy has started a charity run in order to raise funds for getting an all-terrain powerchair for his school friend who suffers from a muscle degeneration disorder.
Dan will be running 15km in the hopes of raising money for his friend Eric who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a disorder characterised by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.
The young man aims to buy his friend a Trekinetic GTE powerchair, the lightest powerchair of its kind available, in order to allow Eric to be able to enjoy a world without boundaries.
On the Facebook page dedicated to the charity run, Dan explains that “it is hard not to be [Eric’s] friend. He is kind, funny, resilient and always happy”.
“We laugh, play and keep growing up together, yet sometimes we do things in new and different ways as month by month, day by day his muscles keep weakening due to DMD.”
Both Dan and his classmates have also shown their solidarity with Eric’s disorder by a recent class experiment. They did a total of three things to help experience just a few of the challenges that a person with DMD goes through daily.
These included wearing weights around their ankles while running in the playground or using stairs, had their hands tied while trying to get up from a seated position without using their arms or upper body and tried to sit in a manual wheelchair while going uphill.
There is currently no cure for DMD, yet there is hope in the field of medical research. Due to this, the powerchair will aim to not only provide Eric with flexibility and freedom of movement yet also help push his limits and enjoy all places with his friends and family.
Yet, there is a long way to go. Prices for the powerchairs that Dan is raising money for start at around €14,000. As of the writing of this article, Dan has raised over €1,335.
If you are interested in donating to this heart-warming challenge, you can find the details below:
BANK ACCOUNT: 4002 1558 711
BENEFICIARY NAME: SASHA MICELI DEMAJO
IBAN: MT72 VALL 2201 3000 0000 4002 1558 711
with ‘POWER4ERIC’ as the reference.
What is DMD?
According to their official website, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy defines muscle weakness as the principal symptom of DMD. It can start very early in people, as early as two or three years old.
Typically it starts “affecting proximal muscles (those close to the core of the body and later affecting the distal limb muscles (those close to the extremities)”.
Those with DMD typically will find difficulty running, jumping and walking alongside other physical activities.
Other symptoms can include “enlargement of the calves, a waddling gait, and lumbar lordosis (an inward curve of the spine).”
Later in life, both the heart and respiratory muscles become affected as well. The progressive weakness and scoliosis result in “impaired pulmonary function” that can eventually cause “acute respiratory failure”.
You can find more information about DMD here.
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