Dimension Data to support Josh Merkas

Dimension Data drive to support Josh Merkas attend the World Championships

Our goal is to raise $16,000 dollars to support Josh and allow him to be able to attend the World Championships for wheelchair football in Brazil. 

With 2,100 people in our company I would like to believe we can get there with small donations, everyone counts. Please take the time to read and donate.

Josh has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is one of the types of muscular dystrophy, a group of genetic, degenerative diseases primarily affecting voluntary muscles, and caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep muscle cells intact. Symptoms usually appear in male children before age 6 and may be visible in early infancy.
Progressive proximal muscle weakness and pain in the legs and pelvis associated with a loss of muscle mass is observed first. Eventually this weakness spreads to the arms, neck, and other areas. Early signs may include pseudohypertrophy (enlargement of calf muscles), low endurance, and difficulties in standing unaided or inability to ascend staircases. As the condition progresses, muscle tissue experiences wasting and is eventually replaced by fat and fibrotic tissue (fibrosis).
By age 10, braces may be required to aide in walking but most patients are wheelchair dependent by age 12. Later symptoms may include abnormal bone development that lead to skeletal deformities, including curvature of the spine. Due to progressive deterioration of muscle, loss of movement occurs eventually leading to paralysis. Intellectual impairment may or may not be present but if present, does not progressively worsen as the child ages.

About the Competition:-

Australia has received perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to compete at the COPA Americas, an international competition in Powerchair Football in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in May 2014. Powerchair Football is one of the fastest growing sports for electric wheelchair users in the world today. Powerchair Football is a recognized international sport for athletes who use an electric wheelchair for daily mobility. The sport is challenging, fast and dynamic with strict qualifying standards, with the ultimate aim of becoming a Paralympic sport.
Eight athletes have been selected to represent Australia at the COPA Americas 2014 Rio de Janeiro

A bit about Josh
"My name is Josh; I'm 21 years old and have Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. I'm studying IT at university, am passionate about sport and volunteer as a mentor at university and community organisations, helping others achieve their goals.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a degenerative muscle disease. This means I am getting weaker over time. I used to be able to walk but, as I got older, it became too difficult. Consequently, I started using a wheelchair for long distances from around 9 years of age. I relied on the wheelchair more and more as I grew up. At age 13 I began using an electric wheelchair full-time.

When I was younger and could still walk, I loved playing soccer and kicking a soccer ball around. I would play goalie at school, it didn't need as much running around. I wanted to play on the weekend but was unable to keep up with the other kids. As it got harder to walk the joy of playing sport became more and more unlikely.

In 2000, I went to the Paralympics in Sydney, and watched athletes in wheelchairs competing I thought "Maybe I could get into the Paralympics". I couldn't see anyone using an Electric Wheelchair though.
One day by chance whilst buzzing around in my chair someone that played competitive sport in an Electric Wheelchair approached me and they suggested I should try it. I started by playing electric wheelchair sport, and it was the most fun I had ever had, it's all I have wanted to do ever since.

In 2011, Powerchair Football, an electric wheelchair version of field soccer, that had been in existence since the late 1970's in Europe was introduced to Australia. I attended a development workshop in Sydney to learn the sport. The World Cup was in Paris that same year, but I was unable to try out due to financial restrictions. I committed every spare moment developing my skills and subsequently represented my state at 3 national competitions for Powerchair Football."

January 2013 was a pinnacle moment in my sporting journey. I was selected to play for Australia against Japan. The competition was held at the Sydney Olympic Stadium. I remembered sitting in the stadium some thirteen years early watching the Paralympics. It was hard to believe that I was there, Power chair Football is a dream come true for me.
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Macca Clarkson 
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