On Saturday, Sept. 30, Western Michigan's football staff will join coaches from around the country to support the Coach To Cure MD Program and raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The Broncos host Ball State at Waldo Stadium at 7 p.m. in the first Mid-American Conference game of the season.
Western Michigan will be joined on Saturday by honorary team captain, 15-year-old Ryan Karlin, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Both the WMU and Ball State coaching staffs will also wear Coach To Cure MD patches on their sleeves to raise the awareness of Duchenne and in honor of Ryan.
Ryan is the youngest of four children and is a sophomore at Waubonsie Valley High School in Naperville, Ill. Ryan was an avid hockey player until Duchenne limited his ability to participate in the sport at age 10. Now, he fills his love of sports by doing the play-by-play broadcast of his varsity football team.
The day before Ryan and his family travel to Kalamazoo, he'll get the call for the Waubonsie Valley and Wheaton Warrenville matchup – WMU head coach Tim Lester
's alma mater.
"I talked a little trash about that," Lester joked regarding the Waubonsie Valley - Wheaton Warrenville game. "Ryan's coming and he's excited, and we're excited to have him. He's going to get into town and spend some time with our team, we're excited to have him be a part of our family."
Ryan's older sister, Lauren, is a senior ice skater at Western Michigan. His sister Brittany is a senior at Ball State and he also has a sister Cassidy at Michigan State. Ryan also was able to meet members of the Bronco football team in 2015.
Ryan's parents, Marty and Geri, have started Rally for Ryan, a foundation geared towards finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Its annual Gala event is Saturday, Nov. 11 in Naperville, Ill., at White Eagle Golf Club starting at 6:30 p.m.
ABOUT COACH TO CURE MD
Coach To Cure MD is a project of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy in partnership with American Football Coaches Association. The goal of Coach To Cure is to raise awareness to Duchenne muscular dystrophy, generate new financial support for research and demonstrate coaches' commitment to the betterment of young men and the core academic research missions of their universities. This Saturday marks the 10th year anniversary of the organization. Coach to Cure MD has raised $1.4 million for Duchenne research.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood. It affects approximately 1 in 3,500 boys worldwide crossing all cultures and races. Duchenne is a progressive disease, those living with Duchenne will need assistance of a wheelchair in their adolescence, will lose upper body function in their teens and sadly lose their battle in their mid-twenties. Duchenne is fatal but there are promising treatments on the horizon. Since Coach To Cure in Sept. 2016, two drugs have been approved in the U.S. by the FDA with additional therapies under review.
Fans can support their favorite coaches in the fight against Duchenne by either contributing via text messaging the word CURE to 50555 or online at www.CoachToCureMD.org