Bradley Lawson volunteers a lot of his time to help raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). His 10-year-old son, Brady, who is now in a wheelchair, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was approximately 2 years old.
“It was devastating to me and his mother, my ex-wife, Laminda Ditty, when we first found out,” said Lawson, 29, of Evarts. “Since that time, Brady has had to travel to the children’s hospital in Cincinnati every three months for treatment. He, his mother and his maternal grandmother usually have to stay two to three days for Brady’s treatment.”
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a form of muscular dystrophy that worsens quickly. It is caused by a defective gene for dystrophin, a protein in the muscles. However, it often occurs in people without a known family history of the condition.
Because of the way the disease is inherited, boys are affected — not girls. The sons of females who are carriers of the disease, women with a defective gene but no symptoms themselves, each have a 50 percent chance of having the disease. The daughters each have a 50 percent chance of being carriers. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy occurs in about one out of every 3,600 male infants.
In order to help those affected by muscular dystrophy, Lawson said all 14 fire departments throughout the county will be participating in a “Fill the Boot” fundraising drive for MDA Feb. 23, March 9 and March 16 on the bridge leading to Walmart in Harlan. He said they have already raised $4,000 and hope to reach their goal of $10,000.
“Also on March 9, Kenny Abner’s band ‘Harlan County Underground’ and Tony Dean will be hosting a fundraiser at the Harlan Center for MDA,” said Lawson. “Brady was recently selected to be a representative for the MDA, along with three other people, to go to Nashville at the end of the month to meet all the country music stars in their country radio seminar. He and I will travel to Tennessee for this event as a face for Kentucky. Brady is so excited about this honor.”
Lawson said all funds collected in the “Fill the Boot” campaign goes to the MDA. He said all the shamrocks sold at banks, service stations and other locations in the county benefit Brady’s Muscle Makers.
“On March 23, me and my family will travel to Louisville to march for MDA,” said Lawson. “On May 11, we’ll have our own MDA walk here in Harlan. It will be the first one ever done in any county in the state of Kentucky. We’re proud to be the first ones to do this.”
Lawson is employed at the Harlan County Detention as a guard. When asked why he volunteers to do these events, he replied, “I do this for my son — because I love him so much. I also do this for all the children who suffer from muscular dystrophy.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org