James Baxter-O’shea, 22, was surprised on his birthday with a new van. Photo Credit: ABC Central West: Melanie Pearce. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-10/james-baxter-oshea-and-his-new-van/8692290
- James Baxter-O’shea, a young man from Australia with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), was surprised on his 22nd birthday.
- Family, friends, and community members raised $80,000 in just four months.
- Unfortunately for people with physical disabilities, the equipment they need can be very expensive.
There are many people out there living with great difficulties that they will have to overcome or cope with for the rest of their lives. People suffer muscular problems, mental problems, health problems, and some of them are living with more than one devastating condition.
Sometimes, these problems even make it difficult or impossible for a person to move, and they need a kind of gadget or vehicle to move a bit more or easier. There are special electric vehicles and muscular gadgets that help people to move to different places, but unfortunately those are pretty expensive and most people don’t have enough money to get one or to change to a better or a new one.
A Birthday Surprise
James Baxter-O’shea, a young man from Australia is one of those with Muscular Dystrophy. He has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), and he recently turned 22 years old. But what is DMD? It is a condition involving progressive muscle degeneration and weakness, and it can appear at an early age and it can attack any person.
On the day James turned 22, he received a gift he was never expecting.
His family, people in his neighborhood, and his friends saw that the vehicle he was using wasn’t in good condition. It was unsafe for him, and it had more than 700,000 kilometers on it. So, it was a constant risk for him to be moving on it.
James' close friends, family members, and anyone who wanted to join the cause started to look for ways to save up enough money to get him a new and safer vehicle. They went to different parts of town, asking for help, and putting jars to collect donations in different places. Some people put on concerts, and his school made a social video to promote the campaign, and it was total success. Snacks were also sold and distributed in several parts, and the campaign also received donations to make the goal more possible. It was estimated that almost 5,000 people contribute to this great cause.
During four months, they saved more than $80,000 to buy a new van that would help James to move safer. He received his new car the day of his birthday. The reaction was priceless. The look on his face was unique, and people saw happiness in every part of his body, and he just couldn’t believe it.
A Town that Came Together
The mayor in town said she was not amazed, because she knew the kind of people who live in the town, and these people are capable of doing that and much more. When people are together, act together, and work together for the same dream, the results are will surely be amazing. While dreams might take some time, they can surely come true.
James now has his new van, but there are still some settings to do. To be completely functional for him, there are some needed changes. There are seats in the van that need to be removed to create enough space for him, but it will be plenty big enough for him to fit and travel around with his family and friends. Additionally, they need to put in a hydraulic lift to help him get into the car. So, while he received his keys, on the same day he needed to turn back the van so modifications could be made.
There are people all around the planet in need of help, and some of them just need a little bit of assistance that can go a long way. Life can be happier for people if we come together to help improve the way they live. Worldwide, we can a number of organizations that care greatly about people with DMS. They are working continuously in search of solutions and help for different people like James who need something to live better or have a better condition.
All those gadgets and things that are invented have an important mission. One of the things that people with muscular dystrophy need is to be able to do some things for themselves, so the mission is to make that possible, and to do all they can to move by themselves and have their own things.
Improving Life for People with Muscular Dystrophy
Science and technology nowadays are working together to find better solutions, appropriate ways to improve mobility, solutions to fight the condition, different and better treatments and therapies.
There is one thing that is necessary to talk about, and that is the hard and beautiful work that support groups and organizations put in every day to better the lives of others. There are not only groups that help in DMD, but they help in every illness or condition that they can. In those groups it is easy to find support, because you can find people in the same journey, so they can share all their experiences, dreams, how they do to live with it, and even their pains. Knowing that you are not alone, and there are a lot of people trying to fight back, and there are people with the same goal, can be very helpful.
How Support Groups can Help
Support groups are not only for DMD patients, but they are for families, too. The most important part, because family members will be there for the entire journey, is that there is support for these people who might very much need some emotional support. Families have to be strong, because having family members with the condition is not easy. The principal thing they need is love and with it everything is possible. The work that families put in is continuous; they have to teach; they have to work to have the capacity to carry the expenses; they need time. Dealing with DMD is not easy for both of the sides.
As we know, people who have better incomes are the ones to get better treatments and better equipment. Support groups sometimes offer financial help for those who don’t have the capacity to get good medical help that they need. The patients and their families always say that each member of the groups are like family members too, because they are committed with everything. They want to help; they want to make feel people happy. And, they want to show the patients a different world, a world where they can do whatever they want and have a normal life, too.
So, stay close to your loved ones, even the ones who don’t have a condition. Help, listen to everyone every day, and be grateful about what you have and what you do and who you are. Use James’s story for inspiration to help others. Find some people who share the same wish; go out and offer all you have. With your capacity and your desire to make a big change in this world, you can make it happen. To receive beautiful things in this life, we need to do beautiful things in this life too.