The bottom line: The parents of Aaron and Joshua desperately need a certified nursing assistant to sit up with the boys at least 2 or preferably 3 nights each week so that the tired parents of these two young men have the opportunity to sleep.
Here is the rest of the story: Aaron and Joshua Richard are brothers. One of the things they share is that both have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. When they were diagnosed in 1994, the prognosis was bleak; the doctors said that they would not live long enough to finish high school. At the time, life expectancy for a boy with DMD was only mid-teens. Aaron and Joshua, much to the surprise of their doctors, are still around and still fighting. Joshua is finishing up his AA degree at Tallahassee Community College and Aaron is working on his Masters degree in Military History at Norwich University. Aaron graduated cum laude from Florida State University in 2006 with majors in History, Classics and Religion. That is amazing for someone who cannot hold a book or turn its pages.
The DMD form of muscular dystrophy has neither treatment nor cure. All that the brothers' family can do is help them manage the decline and hold on until a treatment is found. Aaron and Joshua function at about the level of quadriplegics; they have just enough strength remaining to work their wheelchairs' joysticks. The family is currently spending several hundred dollars each week for a nursing assistant to help bathe and dress the brothers each weekday morning. Their insurance does not cover this assistance. Their parents do all the rest of the work.
Aaron's condition has deteriorated to the point that he can no longer breathe without assistance. He is on oxygen 24/7 and uses a machine at night to help him breathe while he sleeps. All night, every night, Aaron's mother or father remains awake to monitor his breathing and to change his position every two hours to prevent bedsores.
On the average, medical expenses exceed the family's available income by about $1,000 month after month. Aaron and Joshua's father is almost 60 years old. The family would like $25,000 to cover that $1,000 per month shortfall for the next two years until he turns 62 and can start collecting Social Security benefits for Aaron and Joshua that will cover the shortfall.
Aaron and Joshua are fighters. They have not given up and both continue to struggle every day to do what needs to be done. To continue their fight, they need your help. Their parents need your help as well.
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- Marcy Hoffman
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