CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local mother is raising awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) as her son suffers from the disease.
DMD is the most common form of muscular dystrophy. It is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal muscles that control movement.
Duchenne affects about 20,000 children globally each year. It's classified as a muscle disease that results from the deficiency of a protein called dystrophin.
Jennifer Mirabal's son Jude is just seven years old. His mother said he was diagnosed with the disease when he was three years old.
"Since he was born, he had delays in his development," Mirabal said. "He didn't sit up initially, he always had his hands in his fists. He had difficulty eating and he didn't even walk until he was 18 months old."
Beforehand, the family did not know what was impacting his movement. It wasn't until a physical therapist at Jude's school saw the symptoms. That's when the family took him to a neurologist and he was officially diagnosed.
As previously mentioned, Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder. But what was surprising for Mirabal is the disease does not run in the family.
She said she questioned how her son developed this disorder. Immediately after learning of his diagnosis, Mirabal added that she began researching ways to help encourage her son as he navigates his development.
"Every symptom that I saw online related to this, it was him. He showed all the signs. But it wasn't until I saw the word 'fatal', that's when my heart sunk. I mourned the life that I wished he would have. The life where he'd never get to dance at his high school prom or play sports," she said.
Because of Mirabal's concern for her son, she began looking for ways to find treatment medicines, special care, and even an opportunity to support other people who suffer from this disease.
That's how she came in contact with the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Now, she's advocating for the other millions impacted by DMD and is encouraging communities to participate in the annual Fill the Boot Campaign.
Since 1954, firefighters across the country have collected funds program.
They hit the streets across the nation in hopes to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The donated funds ensure that effective treatments and therapies are found.
The Fill the Boot Campaign kicks off Friday, March 10, and will also take place on March 17th and March 24th.
Be on the lookout for your local firefighter at major intersection with a boot!
Mirabal said she wants to thank everyone who donated in the previous years. Because of the donors, Mirabal added she's gotten the chance to spend more precious moments with her son and she is forever grateful.
If you'd like to learn more about Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), head to the Muscular Dystrophy Association website.
There, you can also find out how ways to donate and support those diagnosed.
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