By Belen Casillas
As the speaker shouted over the microphone “Ready, set, go!” a wave of excitement over took the crowd. He looked straight ahead, pointing his scooter wheels toward the starting line. It was more than a race for David Gary; it was a march of determination to find a cure for what he has fought for many years, Becker Muscular Dystrophy.
“It’s the mental attitude. I have always said persevere and adapt to it. I think thinking positive actually does something chemically to your body, extends your life and you physically on any disease,” said Gary, 65, Vietnam War Air Force Veteran.
The MDA Muscle Walk was held inside the Tyler Broadway Square Mall, on March 3. TJC Apache teams consisted of Apaches Chiefs, Art Club, Anime Club, and the Student Senate. The team was driven to make a difference and raised a total of $800 for the walk by selling raffle tickets and arm bracelets on campus.
“We walked throughout the mall in support of the MDA and to help raise enough money to find a cure,” said William Chronister, a member of the TJC Anime Club.
With his wife next to his side, Doctor Linda Gary, an English Professor at TJC, stood proud and willing to show support to those who needed it the most.
“It was just so wonderful to see the TJC community come together to help not just those in our community but those in the community at large in Smith County, in Texas, and across the country. I think TJC community is just the best at helping others,” said Gary.
“Muscular Dystrophy is a broad term used to describe a group of genetic diseases of the muscles. These diseases are characterized by the weakening and wasting of muscles,” said Candace Pate, Fundraising Coordinator for MDA of East Texas.
The MDA helps families with numerous services for a better quality of life, such as summer camps, clinical visits, and medical equipment. MDA also funds research to find a cure, for the Muscular Dystrophy Diseases.
“Unfortunately, there is no cure but MDA has provided numerous treatments to prolong life and quality of life,” said Pate.
Like Gary, many people with muscular dystrophy struggle to live a normal life, but the disease has not stopped Gary from helping others rise from similar diseases.
“His ability to adapt to the situation and persevere is a lesson to us all and it’s a lesson even to our students because our students face incredible challenges. Many of them work fulltime, have family obligations, are facing tremendous, economical hardship,” said Gary. “It always amazes me how dedicated, how motivated they are and it makes me want to work that much harder to help them succeed and fulfill their dreams… Volunteer, don’t sit at home. There is stuff you can do because you sit at home, your life’s not going to be very long I think, whether you have Dystrophy or not. It’s hard to describe how volunteering changes your life until you do it,” said Gary.
With a bright yellow shirt and a big smile, Lauren Tyler, and the coordinator for Student Life, showed her support on Saturday and motivated others to get involved with life-threatening issues which can give a reality check to many students.
“Fulfilling promise number 3: getting out there helping the community. You know like I said; it is those that effect some people here on campus,” said Tyler. She also explains the need to become humble through the experience of not living selfishly, but giving back to those in need.
TJC came in second place as one of the contributors adding to the total of approximately $35,000 that the MDA Walk rose on Saturday.
To volunteer, contribute, or for more information about the MDA of East Texas, contact Candace Pate at 903-534-2984 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.