Football raises muscular dystrophy awareness

COIN TOSS-Offensive line coach Tyrone Carter (left), defensive back coach Joshua Thompson (center) and head coach Bobby Godinez greet their guest Avery Faeth and his family.
COIN TOSS-Offensive line coach Tyrone Carter (left), defensive back coach Joshua Thompson (center) and head coach Bobby Godinez greet their guest Avery Faeth and his family.

By Ivan Cazares

The East Los Angeles College football team welcomed Avery Faeth before a game against San Diego Mesa College to create awareness on Duchenne muscular dystrophy Sept. 24.

Coaches from around the country wore a patch in unity and welcomed guests with muscular dystrophy as part of the Coach to Cure Muscular Dystrophy Program.

Coach to Cure Muscular Dystrophy is a partnership of coaches and staff from more than 10,000 schools dedicated to fundraising for muscular dystrophy patients and treatments.

DMD is a genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. It is one of nine types of muscular dystrophy.

It is caused by the absence of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep muscle cells healthy.

DMD is usually diagnosed in boys ages 3-5, and in rare occasions can affect girls.

Promising research might one day help those affected.

However there currently is no cure.

Eteplirsen will be the first disease-modifying drug to be marketed in the United States.

It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 19, and  the Muscular Dystrophy Association reports that approximately 13 percent of DMD patients may be eligible for treatment.

Faeth is 12 years old and was diagnosed a few months before his third birthday.

DMD has confined him to a wheelchair, which his parents were only able to afford thanks to previous donations.

He was featured on KTLA’s “Problem Solvers” segment last year and received support from viewers including Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews.

He was given a ball signed by the ELAC team and performed the coin toss to initiate the game on Sept. 24.

“They (football players) were excited. It was their idea to give him (Faeth) a signed ball. It was our wide receiver Kyeree Wallace’s idea to let him do the coin toss,” Director of Football Operations Lakesha Beh said.

“One of the most important things for us as staff was helping our kids see that we can’t take anything for granted.

“We have the luxury of going out there every day and doing something we love as well as going to school. It helped bring things into perspective for us,” head football coach Bobby Godinez said.

Godinez said he wants to help the program evolve beyond athletics and academics because they represent the ELAC community.

“I would like to have our young men be more involved in the community,” Beh said. She also said the team has had a positive attitude toward being involved in the community and she hopes they can be positive role models to younger generations.

To donate money for Muscular Dystrophy research and help those affected visit coachtocuremd.org.

A $5 donation can also be made by texting “cure” to 90999. Godinez said the program intends to do more community work.

“I think they (the ELAC community) can rally around us and help,” Godinez said.

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