The Muscular Dystrophy Association has been a big part of my life since high school. I was lucky enough to volunteer as a camp counselor for a summer and my camper, Taylor, changed my life. As a high school student, you face so many different stressful situations and feel pressure in multiple ways and to me these felt huge. After spending a week with Taylor, I realized the challenges I was facing were nowhere near what this strong, inspirational eight year old was facing. Camp put my life into perspective in the best way possible and I felt so humbled leaving summer camp. I knew the children and families of the MDA were going to be a part of the rest of my life.
My fiancé, Rhys Hoskins, fell in love with the organization and everyone involved back in high school as well. He too served as a camp counselor and was lucky to do so for two consecutive years. Over the years, Rhys and I have found ways to stay involved with the MDA.
In 2016, Rhys Hoskins earned the Phillies Minor League Step Up Award award and he was able to donate to a charity of his choice. There was no doubt in our mind that donation was heading to the Philadelphia MDA Chapter. Once Rhys got called up to the Phillies in August of 2017, we were sure to take advantage of every opportunity we had and his platform as a professional athlete to fundraise and raise awareness for the MDA. With help from the Phillies, we’ve hosted families for BP, a Meet & Greet, a Q&A, hosted the 2018 and 2019 Muscle Walk and attended the 2018 Black N’ Blue Ball and 2018 Summer Camp.
Over these couple years in Philadelphia and hosting these numerous events and attending others, we have gotten so close with the children of the Philadelphia MDA and their families. Each and every family has found a way into our hearts and touched our lives. During the 2018 season, we were lucky enough to become very close with one child in particular, LJ Kidon, and his family. LJ was unfortunately taken too early from us, passing away in April. LJ made an impact on every life he crossed paths with. Losing LJ far too soon has only made our fight stronger.
Rhys and I hope our involvement sparks interest in others in our community to get involved to help us fight neuromuscular diseases. I run with Team Momentum for Taylor, LJ, and every other person in this world suffering from neuromuscular diseases. I ask you to join our fight by joining our team or making a donation in our honor. See you September 15th!