'Push your limits: Don't let anyone get you down'
EUGENE, Ore. - Daily life can be challenging for anyone at times.
But when your muscles are failing, doing routine activities can seem almost impossible.
There are more than 40 different kinds of muscular dystrophy. While there is no cure for the disease, one local group is making sure kids living with it are still able to have every-day fun.
Jack Craig seems like your typical 11-year-old. He enjoys skating, scootering, and playing video games with big goals for the future.
What does he want to be when he grows up?
"A Pro scooter rider," says Jack.
He also lives with muscular dystrophy.
As a baby, his parents knew something was off.
"He was a premature baby, " mom Tonya Craig says. "He was 4 pounds 11 ounces at 2 months. His right leg went up right over his head. So, we knew there was something going on, but all of the doctors said no it's positional or it's drop foot."
In his little more than a decade of life, Jack has had 10 surgeries.
"Every surgery is heartbreaking," Tonya says, "and I'll tell you the worst one, he must have been 5 or 6. You don't get to go back with them. So, I go to give him a kiss goodbye and he says nothing, and tears are just running down his face. He was trying to be brave for me. That was a really bad one."
While doctors are still trying to figure out exactly what type of muscular dystrophy Jack has, his mom says she's focused on keeping him grounded and enjoying life.
A big part of that is an MDA summer camp that allows him to connect to kids just like him.
Malissa Bare is the MDA Area Director. "They make friends easier, they bond a little faster," she says of campers, "and to not be told 'you're not able to do this.'"
That also includes being a bit mischievous.
"It's really fun" says Jack. "The first couple of days it's really chill - and everybody's hanging out but I think the best day was when me and my counselor Kevin, we stole Malissa's golf cart and we parked it in the corner of the gym."
Jack is one of about 80 kids who go to the camp each year.
The cost is covered and activities are made accessible to all campers.
But most importantly, it gives them the chance to make friends they can relate to.
"So this is a week that they can do everything and all the kids are similar to them, which is just priceless," Malissa says.
A summer experience, Jack's mom says, impacts him year round.
"I think I'm just like everybody else, people might see me different, but the message I'm trying to say is push your limits- don't let anyone get you down," says Jack.