One Family One Night

One Family One Night
Event One - The Keemle Family
January 30th, 2015
The Redstone Room

Joshua John Keemle ­ known affectionately by friends and family as JJ ­ was born withDuchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He is 28 years old and lives in Rock Island, Illinois with his brother Brent, who has become JJ’s full­time caretaker. JJ loves reading, the arts, drinking tea, video gaming, watching sports ­ particularly the St. Louis Cardinals ­ and spending time with his friends and family. JJ is one of the most selfless and positive people anyone will ever meet. Despite being bound to a wheelchair, he never complains about his condition and always shows great concern for the well­being of those around him.


JJ was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 5. DMD is a genetic

disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. DMD is one of

nine types of muscular dystrophy and is considered the most aggressive form. The disease is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep muscle cells intact. Muscle weakness begins during adolescence, eventually confining patients to a wheelchair sometime between the ages of 7 and 12. The disease works its way through the muscles of the upper­body, gradually taking the ability to dress and feed oneself. DMD lastly affects the heart and lungs.

JJ sees Neuromuscular, Cardiology and Pulmonary specialists at the University of Iowa

Hospital and Clinics on a regular basis. A reliable handicap­accessible vehicle is essential for making the frequent trips to Iowa City. Transportation is not just a medical necessity, but a social need as well. A great factor in combating a disease such as DMD is by keeping active and surrounding yourself with positive people. JJ greatly enjoys getting out with his friends. He likes seeing movies, going out to eat, or simply grabbing a drink on the weekends: things that are not possible without the means of reliable, accessible transportation.

Handicap­accessible vans are far more expensive than regular vehicles, and they are much more difficult to finance. Our goal for this night is to help a deserving family who could greatly benefit from some assistance. An accessible vehicle is a necessity for JJ’s health, and we want to help with the lack of funding that is available to them.
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Ian Smith 
Rock Island, IL
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