Bright blue eyes, a full head of hair, beautiful smile, and full of energy. At 5 years old, Ethan Demmers is possibly at the healthiest he will be in his life. Ethan was recently diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD). Typically, people with this disease live only into their 20s. Over the next few years, the disease will slowly attack every muscle in Ethan’s body, eventually causing him to permanently be in a wheelchair. Ethan’s parents are not ready to give up their hope for a cure. They are fully committed to helping find a cure for this deadly illness, not just for their own son, but for all others suffering as well.
Ethan’s father, Dustin Demmers, is an English teacher at Floral Park Memorial High School. To the student body, Demmers can be described as funny, happy, wacky, wild, crazy, and unique among other adjectives. Demmers can be found smiling through the halls, making jokes over the loudspeakers, or making his class into the ideal environment for learning.
It is safe to say, Demmers is not your average English teacher, especially not to long-time friends and Floral Park Memorial High School alumni Jules Alonzo and Kyle Vidasolo. After hearing about Ethan’s recent diagnosis, Alonzo and Vidasolo were motivated to help. “We have the ability to help someone in need, so why not go above and beyond to try and do that,” said Alonzo.
They are set to tackle a 200-mile bike trail, through the Grand Canyon, in support of Ethan Demmers, from Oct. 1 through Oct. 5. “He has done so many nice things for the entire student body, we figured it’s time that someone did something nice for him in return” said Vidasolo.
This campaign is meant to spread awareness for DMD, while raising money along the way. Visit www.gofundme.com/RideForEthan to make a donation in support of the ride. All of the donations will go towards medicine, medical equipment, future home renovations to meet Ethan’s needs, and perhaps even giving Ethan some journeys of his own. Since July 17, the crowdfunding site has collected $3,350 of the duo’s $10,000 goal.
Visit www.mda.org to learn more about muscular dystrophy. Help Ethan, and others like him, by spreading his story on social media. Awareness is the first step to help make a cure a reality.
Editor’s note: A separate upcoming event is also planned to benefit the Demmers family. The Ethan Demmers Coed 6s Beach Volleyball Charity Tournament will be held on Sunday, Aug. 17 on Riverside Drive in Long Beach at 10 a.m. See this week’s calendar listing feature for more information.