MMF Advocate | The First State

Muscle Champion, Michael Smith, Becomes Delaware's Muscle Movement Foundation Advocate!

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Muscle Champion, Michael Smith, increases involvement with MMF and becomes Offical Advocate

NEW CASTLE, DE - Michael Smith, currently a 20 year old student at Wilmington University, continues to overcome the obstacles presented in living with muscular dystrophy with great poise and compassion. Michael has been living and refusing to lose to muscular dystrophy for over fifteen years, and his accomplishments speak for themselves. Michael graduated from Thomas McKean High School in Wilmington, DE where he voluntarily became involved with organizations that fought neuromuscular disease; one of the organizations being the Muscle Movement Foundation. Currently enrolled at Wilmington University to further his education, he has decided to increase his involvement with the Muscle Movement Foundation, since he enjoys how the MMF brings awareness and support to his fellow "Muscle Champions" - individuals living with muscle disease. Having a strong passion for athletics, he juggled the decision to major in sports management or video game design, and has narrowed his choice to video design. Now pursuing a college degree, it was important for Michael to continue his involvement with athletics in college through the Muscle Movement Foundation.

The start of this fall was very exciting for Michael! A new school, a new experience, but more specifically, a new football season! Michael loves football; in fact, if you saw Michael and family on a Sunday you would quickly learn of their favorite team from the family's attire. His favorite NFL Team is the Dallas Cowboys, which he has no problem representing in the prominent Philadelphia Eagles territory of Wilmington, DE! Although he loves the game, he unfortunately has never been able to compete. Michael did not begin to walk until 22 months old. Michael's parents considered Michael to simply be a "late- walker" but their suspicion increased after Michael displayed additional symptoms.

In May of 2001, at just 5 years old, Michael was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is one of nine forms of muscular dystrophy categorized as a genetic disease that causes muscle degeneration and weakness throughout the body. It is 100% fatal. Just six years after being diagnosed, Michael experienced the debilitating effects of muscular dystrophy and lost his ability to walk. At just 11 years old Michael successfully completed the transfer to a power wheelchair, in order to maintain physical autonomy. Resilient, Michael is not defined by his disease and lives life just as "normal" as any other 20 year old. He wanted to take initiative in helping others overcome the difficulties in living with muscle damaging disease, and inspire others along the way. Michael stated in a recent interview, "You know if I could participate, I'd be out there in a second", pointing to the St. Elizabeth High School Football Field - a local team on board with the MMF. Despite the obstacles presented in living with muscular dystrophy, Michael continues to persevere through adversity with a smile on his face. His motto:

"There is no dis- in my ability!"
-DMD Muscle Champion, Michael Smith

Michael Smith has joined the Saint Elizabeth Vikings for the second consecutive year through the Muscle Movement Foundation's team, Team Muscle Up. Team Muscle Up consists of athletes that use their healthy muscles, to excel in their sport, while helping individuals living with "sick muscles" (muscle disease). Michael Smith will be in attendance at several home games and will serve as the Vikings' honorary captain/coach this season!

(left to right): St. Elizabeth High School Director of Athletics, Joe Papili, MMF Official Advocate, Mike Smith, and St. Elizabeth's Offensive Coordinator Joseph Wright

(left to right): St. Elizabeth High School Director of Athletics, Joe Papili, MMF Official Advocate, Mike Smith, and St. Elizabeth's Offensive Coordinator Joseph Wright