Derek was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of 6. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is one of the muscle diseases covered by MDA’s research and care programs. Duchenne muscular dystrophy can affect the muscles of the hips, pelvic area, thighs and shoulders, and later the skeletal (voluntary) muscles in the arms, legs and trunk. By the early teens, the heart and respiratory muscles are affected. Derek has been involved in many activities through MDA including speaking at the annual MDA Gala event, attending MDA program kick-offs for our Shamrock and Summer Camp Pin-Ups programs, visiting local fire stations that participate in our Fill-the-Boot programs and other MDA-related events, as well as having a MDA Muscle Walk team at Werner Park. He is a great speaker, and MDA is very lucky to have him as this year’s Ambassador.
The MDA State Ambassador program helps put a face on MDA’s mission by calling upon individuals affected by muscle-debilitating diseases to share their personal stories and inspiring support of MDA. Former ambassadors have grown up to fulfill life goals and achieve distinction, earning advanced degrees and making their marks as successful business professionals. Many continue in volunteer roles for MDA, serving on various committees on public awareness and appearing at events to tell MDA’s story of progress.