As one of the oldest living individuals diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, I’m called an inspiration, practically on a daily basis, but the truth remains.  Everyone who fights this disease encourages and motivates me to continue, despite the odds.  Children are dying because of this relentless monster, yet even those who are no longer with us, persevered unto the end.  They are my heroes.

Duchenne boys face the impossible every second of every minute of every hour.  They defy it without hesitation because there was no other option to begin with.  Forced into a life of adversity, they engage this psychological war with great authority, striving to be more than simply men.  Here are ten reason why the Duchenne boy is, in fact, a born superhero:

  1. He continues alone, strong and unwavering. Starting at a very young age, he already must battle the unknown, with parents afraid to reveal what makes him different from everyone else.  He endlessly fights with an ideal that someday, things will get better, with genuine hope.

  2. Whenever he falls or has a hard time, he keeps it to himself to not worry his family. He deals and finds solutions, returning to his feet with even more determination… a genius problem solver and inventor in learning.

  3. Despite facing muscle deterioration from the get-go, he endures constant mockery from children who don’t understand. He goes home to his toys and plays by himself.  His imagination is capable of conjuring the most beautiful universes.

  4. Decisions become tougher as the progression gains momentum. With great maturity, his fearlessness shines through.  He looks at his life, along with the pros and cons, and stands firm on his choice, because it’s what needs to happen.

  5. The Duchenne boy carries the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Loneliness motivates him to develop a sense of emotional independence.  He is resourceful in every aspect and keeps his sanity intact, standing tall, even while the world is crumbling before his eyes.

  6. Amid an atmosphere of perpetual loss, he struggles with overcoming the urge for bitterness. He eventually wins to find gratitude in every ability he owns, and finds appreciation for even the most basic things, like a breath of air.

  7. He never gives in to the symptoms and defends each of his abilities unto the end. He requires no physical dignity because true dignity will always be in his heart.  He believes there is a destination and keeps going, regardless of circumstance.  Yet, above all else, he is strong enough to let go when the time is right.

  8. He is a lone soldier in every sense. The mind is his most powerful weapon.  He is responsible for all his care and knows every little detail.  He is disciplined according to his routines and restrictions because caring for himself is also caring for his loved ones.  He is a self-made fountain of knowledge.

  9. No matter how much the weakness prevails, he is still able to draw energy from the negative to get through the day. He encourages himself and harnesses his anger to not only overcome, but walk through the fire, without hesitation.

  10. While there are no vacations, the Duchenne boy is confronted more than ever in the withering sands of time. He ultimately faces the final frontier: death.  He remains fearless, not for himself, but the sake of his family.  However much pain he might be going through, they never fail to be his number one priority.

There are times when things simply happen and Duchenne boys understand that the world owes them nothing.  Without special powers, only weaknesses, they withstand every obstacle, unafraid, to create their own strengths.  Superheroes exist, I know it for sure.