Happy New Year! It's a brand new year and we are excited to have a Precious Child we'd like to introduce you to. This is Austin, He's 16 years old and he is one of the most sweet 16 year olds you will ever meet. He LOVES Bailee Madison (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailee_Madison) and has a dream to meet her and ride on Splash Mountain in Disney World with her.
When Austin was born, he was over 9 pounds and his shoulder was dislocated at birth and he required oxygen. His parents were so happy to have a little baby, but after being home for a few months, Austin started choking and having trouble keeping food down. Austin's parents took him to countless doctors and he had multiple medical screenings and tests. Doctors were puzzled with Austin, and didn't have a diagnosis for his parents. Doctors were calling his case a mystery, and saying that Austin was a puzzle because his tests were coming back normal. They were given a multitude of diagnoses. Failure to Thrive was one diagnosis that he received. Basically, Austin wasn't gaining weight and growing like an average child should. Typically Failure to Thrive is an underlying symptom of other major illnesses. Austin also received a diagnosis of Ataxia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ataxia) , or lack of voluntary muscle movements, as well as dysmetria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysmetria). He also had chronic vomiting and developmental delays.
Austin finally received a diagnosis when he was ten years old. Can you imagine 10 years of not knowing the exact cause of all that Austin had and still has to endure??? Austin was diagnosed with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/ullrich-congenital-muscular-dystrophy) A year after his diagnosis Austin's Congenital Muscular Dystrophy diagnosis was changed to Progressive Muscular Dystrophy. There are over 30 different types of dystrophy, with the most common being Ducchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. The cause of dystrophy is the absence of a protein in the body called dystrophin. You can view more about Dystrophin here: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/DMD . Austin also has scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) as well as hip dysplasia, which is a misalignment of the hip joint. The hip dysplasia is Austin's most recent diagnosis and he has a good bit of pain from it.
Over the past few years Austin has become weaker and weaker. He was able to walk by holding someone's hand, then he regressed to having to use a walker. He eventually wasn't able to use the walker any longer and regressed to a wheelchair and now he is in a power chair. His parents have watched him get weaker every day, and I can't imagine the pain they feel to see their child going through this. Austin doesn't have the ability to do some of the daily tasks that most of us take for granted. He needs to be carried to go to the restroom, he has to have someone brush his teeth for him, and he does not have a handicap accessible home. Ramps for his home are not an option at this time and his parents basically have to carry Austin to areas where his chair cannot go. Austin also has to have help dressing, combing his hair and all other basic needs. Austin chokes in his sleep and his parents have to be near him to be sure he's able to breathe. He cannot sit up without assistance and can barely roll over himself. Even though Austin struggles so much on a daily basis, he is always wanting to make others happy. He will go out of his way to try to make someone else smile. Please take a moment and stop over and say hi to Austin : https://www.facebook.com/HelpAustinMeetBaileeMadison You can see from his pictures that he has a smile that could help brighten most anyone's day.
I'm very honored to have a chance to write about Austin. He's an amazing young man and I know that he will have his dream come true very soon of meeting Bailee Madison and riding on Splash Mountain with her. He's a very determined young man and he has a very supportive family. Please check out his sister's website as well https://www.facebook.com/CalistaCares?fref=ts She is very passionate about helping others with disabilities and loves her brother very much. Thank you for taking the time to read about Austin. It's my hope that this blog has helped others understand more about the struggles that individuals and families go through when they are living with Muscular Dystrophy. Also, thank you to Austin's mom for telling us about her son, so we could share his story with you.