We all have something that keeps us going. Some players become even more aggressive after losing a game, and others find another source of motivation. If you ask Derek Rivers, he will tell you the story of his friend Tanner and the disease that took his life.
Tanner was struggling with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, but lost the battle. Derek Rivers knew that this would have become his motivation. So, he did his best to help researchers find an efficient therapy for DMD.
You can see Derek representing JAR of Hope. It was founded the organization five years ago after his youngest son was diagnosed with DMD. Derek talked to Mr. Raffone, and became emotional after learning about the JAR of Hope’s mission.
“It’s something God let me do. Mr. Raffone came in, and he goes around different spots and workout facilities. Me and him stayed in contact and we’ve been working together since the combine training,” Derek said.
DMD affects the dystrophin gene, and without it, muscles become weak and deteriorated. There are at least 300,000 cases worldwide, and it is more common in boys.
“When we work out our muscles have tissue over our fiber,” Derek said. “They tear when you work out, and that fiber helps it grow back and grow back stronger. When you have Duchenne that kind of deteriorates so [those affected] can’t recover like you would. Most young boys get it and a lot of them don’t live to see past 15, 16, 17. Really 21 is kind of the max age.”
“There have been some studies done and some tests ran on some kids where it’s flat-lined them, which praise God that’s a good thing,” Derek said. “Hopefully,just to continue to raise awareness and keep it going and to find a cure for it.”