No matter how long we live, the ones who will have known us the longest are our siblings. For siblings Wil and Emily Cook, the time they have together is more precious knowing Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a critical factor in Wil’s life, and they make the most of it.
Wil and Emily grew up doing the usual kid activities – playing, coloring and writing stories. Emily noticed as time went by that certain tasks became more difficult for Wil, leaving their parents to occasionally have to help lift him up or support him as he walked. As every day activities grew more challenging for her big brother, Emily saw that he continued to tackle life’s challenges with the same a sense of joy and positivity.
Duchenne is a fatal genetic muscle disease that impacts 300,000 patients worldwide, most of them boys and young men. Most Duchenne patients are usually diagnosed at age 5, lose their ability to walk by 12 and many don’t survive their mid-20s, and currently there is no cure for Duchenne.
Wil’s joy and zest for life inspires Emily. Although he relies on a wheelchair for many of his daily tasks, Emily admires her brother’s positive attitude through life. “My brother has taught me to always look at the bright side and make light out of life’s difficult situations,” said Emily.
Emily took that inspiration a step further and designed a shirt to help spread awareness and raise funds for CureDuchenne, whose mission is to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The first shirts sold out and Emily raised more than $2,600. A second shirt is still available and can be purchased here.
For families around the world, finding out your loved one is affected by a fatal disease is life changing and affects the entire family. Like Emily, many of these young boys inspire their siblings the way Wil inspires Emily. We hope their story inspires you the way it inspires us to find joy and appreciate others and to keep fighting for a cure.