20 September 2010 - by ~ 1 Comment

Avenging Joseph

September 12th has always been a somber day for me. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) claimed my brother Joseph on this day thirty-six years ago, and I’m still feeling the pain. This disease nudges me every single day, but on 9/12 it slaps me extra hard across the face with the white glove and offers a challenge. It taunts me, as if to say, I took a piece of your heart once, and now I’m after your soul.

Well, my mortality is at stake here, and if DMD wants a duel, then I will certainly oblige. I look at it this way: I am undefeated right now at 44-0. Forty-four years of survival has put me way over the top and made me an undisputed champion as far as I’m concerned. Duchenne would have to kill me forty-five times consecutively at this point to win the grudge match and I just don’t see it happening. I am already a lock for this particular Hall of Fame, so whatever I must deal with from here on out cannot alter my lifetime statistics.

The older brother is supposed to fight for his little brother, but Joseph died at the tender age of fifteen and never had that chance. So I get to do it now for him. DMD beat my brother into an early grave, and I don’t take all too kindly to bullies. Knock me down and I will stand again. Throw a punch and it won’t even make a dent. Sticks and stones will never harm me. Avenging Joseph is my perpetual mission, and I won’t back away. I avenge him by opening my eyes every morning, staving off Duchenne and living to the fullest of my ability.

I went to church today and lit a candle, something I have been doing for as long I can remember. This is to honor Joseph and keep his flame ablaze in my heart. Hey, it’s the least a little brother can do, right?

  • Marcus C. Ritchie II

    being 33 myself with DMD, I know all to well the everyday battle with the disease. in 2001, SMA claimed the life of my best friend in the world, Jack. we had only known another about 4 years, but as roomates. he was the closest thing to a brother I’ve ever had. I have a tattoo as an homage to him. I’m sure its not like losing a real brother, but I know where your coming from. keep up the good fight my friend, you’ve got allies!