Hope for a better future is given to the Friar family and others through fundraisers like the GR .1K


In most definitions, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is characterized by progressively increasing weakness as one ages. Senior Kevin Friar, a student with Duchenne, does not hold true to that definition. The more he ages, the more strength he has to face another day despite the obstacles.

Without the support and love from his family, especially from his brother who also has DMD, Kevin couldn’t have grown to be the person he is today: one who perseveres through every test of will or character that is put in his path. His good-natured personality and inspirational story can be accredited to his parents who have turned their situation into an opportunity to benefit others for the greater good.

“My husband and I made a realization when Kevin and his brother, Kyle, were young: we could either spend our time worrying about their future or be a part of a solution,” Kevin’s mother, DeAnne Friar said. “We love to be about trying to make a difference for our sons and all [other] boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.”

Their uncommonly positive attitude has been a key component in their lives that has shaped them for the better, and it has made hope and a better future more possible. Through the rich support from everyone close to them and their deeply compassionate hearts, the Friars- along with many others- created an annual GR .1K fundraiser which pours all of their energy into finding a cure to combat DMD. The fundraiser raises tens of thousands of dollars– all of which go to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy Medical (PPMD), an organization that has made all the difference in the lives of people in both the community and around the world.

“PPMD works on a number of things for families dealing with DMD,” Friar said. “They work to ensure the best care in hospitals and clinics, work to spread awareness about DMD, and work to advocate in Washington D.C. so we have good healthcare. The money [they get] is put towards research, and they work to find and fund research for treatment and ultimately a cure for this disease. It is the number one grassroots organization for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, meaning it runs on donations from people like us.”

Because of PPMD, those involved are offered a new way forward– a way that continues to restore their optimism even though the situation is dire. Senior Emma Yoder participated in the .1K race, and she was inspired by the boundless joy that these affected families have.

“These families like the Friars and others can live, be so happy, and do something so amazing despite the struggles that they’re going through,” Emma said. “That makes me so happy. I think [the event is] something that will last a while. I really think it’s something that is so cool, but it’s not something that a lot of kids knew about. A lot of people at our school had no idea what the .1K was, and even if they couldn’t go to the race on Saturday, I appreciate how it educates the community, making them aware of what’s going on [around them] and showing them that there is stuff like muscular dystrophy that needs our help to find a cure. It’s bigger than us; people are going through so much that is bigger than your everyday problems.”

Although there is currently no cure, the GR .1K race is all about feeding their high aspirations, raising awareness, and fighting the disease that can quickly become impossibly overwhelming.

“Maybe a cure won’t be found soon, but at least we’re putting a lot of effort towards a cure that absolutely needs to be found,” Emma said. “This is something that needs to be solved like any other disease like breast cancer or pediatric cancer. I want there to be a purpose. I want there to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Bad things don’t only happen for the bad; there’s always good that can come out of it. I think the .1K is like that. It gives you hope, and it gives you inspiration.”

People coming together as a community in a strong attempt to fight for a resolution is the best thing for the Friar family and countless other families it has affected. The GR .1K is raising that awareness so that more people can overcome the destructive disease. Senior and close friend to the Friars, Grant Bardelli, has been committed to going to the GR .1K and other fundraisers to further share the burden with them.

“Not many people know about [DMD], but it is a terrible disease,” Grant said. “This event is one of the largest fundraisers for this disease in the country, and it has a big effect on Kevin. The more people that come out, the more money is donated to research for the disease.”

Grant and Emma both viewed the event as astonishing and powerful because of how much support is offered. Emma, in particular, was beyond excited to see just how much love comes from the community at times like this.

“If you go and see how many people are there, I think it’ll change you,” Emma said. “For me, I already know that going into Saturday, when I see all the people there who are supporting the Friars and supporting other families that suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, I’m going to get the chills because that is so extraordinary.”

Although the path for Kevin has been long and arduous, he and his family have faith that the struggle has only made their family and their community much stronger.

“I don’t think of hardships when we do this race,” Friar said. “It’s the support of the people that come out that give us the strength to fight even harder against this disease. It’s an indescribable feeling to have this many people come together and join us to help these kids.”