Generosity of strangers helps family of Exeter teen with Duchenne muscular dystrophy – News –

Within the days earlier than all of us went into our life at residence mode throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the generosity of strangers was about to vary the lifetime of 18-year-old Lucas Currier and his household.

The household’s 10-year-old wheelchair accessible van was limping alongside. The automated ramp which helped Lucas get into the van was damaged. Elevating and reducing the ramp manually was a tough, and heavy, job. The van was low to the bottom which made going over pace bumps a novel expertise.

“The engine gentle was at all times on and each expense was getting greater and greater,” Lucas’s mom Linda stated. “We needed to do one thing.”

They utilized to the Jett Basis whose giving fund assists households of these with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), by serving to cowl the price of tools not lined by insurance coverage. As soon as an utility is authorized, the households are challenged to lift half the funds wanted for the tools. The Jett Basis covers the remaining prices.

“It brings tears to my eyes,” Linda stated. “It feels just like the universe was someway coming round to us, I don’t know learn how to describe it, it was simply this sense of reduction after we have been chosen.”

Lucas was four years outdated when he was identified with DMD, a progressive neuromuscular dysfunction that impacts solely boys.

A web based fundraising effort for the van was launched in early 2020, with mates and strangers shortly donating half of the price of the $47,000 van.

“The those who got here ahead, individuals we don’t even know, individuals we all know via others that heard our story and donated,” she stated. “Is simply humbling, the kindness simply blows you away. It’s laborious to thank individuals sufficient.”

Their new van got here at simply the suitable time as their household, greater than others, has been limiting interplay with the surface world owing to Lucas’s well being. Going for a drive within the van has been one thing secure they’ll do to get out.

“Now we have definitely taken many, many rides to get out of the home, and, each time we do, we’re severely crammed with pleasure,” Linda stated.

Lucas completed his senior yr at Exeter Excessive College this spring. “It was positively bizarre and completely different, however I’d say I adjusted fairly properly to it,” he stated.

They opted not to participate in a number of the in-person occasions on the finish of the yr, which was laborious, however made sense. “As disappointing because it was not to participate in senior week, we’ve been in a position to keep wholesome and hold that perspective,” Linda stated. “The lung operate is a large a part of DMD and his definitely is just not the perfect and we’re attempting to be tremendous cautious.”

They did participate in a drive-by parade in Newfields, the place Lucas grew up, and the place the graduating seniors return yearly to have their image taken by the elementary college. “It was superb how many individuals have been out with indicators, those who didn’t even have youngsters that have been graduating,” Linda stated.

There have been 18 graduates this yr, most of whom began in elementary college collectively. “A few of these youngsters have come to Lucas’s soccer video games or final yr there was a gaggle that went to the MDA fundraising stroll,” she stated, including whereas the group might have drifted aside as they acquired older, “It’s a bond that may’t be damaged.”

Lucas was accepted to the College of New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire College, Nice Bay Neighborhood Faculty and Manchester Neighborhood Faculty. He accomplished the digital media arts program on the Seacoast College of Know-how and is trying to do one thing that entails “designing” on computer systems when he begins at Nice Bay. He wish to switch to UNH after two years.

Whereas at residence, he’s been spending time along with his older sister Alyssa, and their two canine, Theo and Gabby, who’s his service canine.

“She’s good,” Lucas stated when requested about Gabby. “She was going to highschool with me earlier than all of this occurred. A number of the issues she will do is decide issues up off the ground like pencils, she will hit the handicap button to open doorways and switch the lights on.”

His mom added, “She’s an excellent companion.”

Lucas has been engaged on his raised mattress backyard, enjoying video video games, distant management vehicles and {golfing} on a placing inexperienced in his storage. However considered one of his highlights has been a brand new electrical bike he was in a position to get via a grant. “I can both peddle or not,” he defined.

The bike helps him work muscle tissues that have to stretch, and the household has had some adventurous outings. “We did be taught that we should be very cautious on hills taking place,” Linda stated.

Lucas misses enjoying energy soccer as a member of the Northeast Passage Wildcats Energy Soccer staff, however the staff has been getting collectively on Zoom weekly. “It’s very nice to nonetheless have that connection,” his mom stated.

He’s additionally an honorary member of the UNH males’s soccer staff and has been attending their Zoom conferences too. “I prefer it,” he stated. “They attempt to embody me. I similar to listening to what everyone has to say.”

Whereas the van has modified their lives, a connection made throughout their fundraising efforts with Paul Willis, founder and president of Seacoast United Soccer, led them to a different life-changing expertise.

“He was so decided to verify we raised the cash we would have liked to lift,” Linda stated, including a staff from Seacoast United was taking a visit to London on the similar time, which led to Paul giving Lucas and his household a visit to London.

“We went to 2 soccer video games,” Lucas stated of the perfect a part of the journey. “I believed that was fairly cool. The environment was nothing in comparison with over right here.”

Linda added, “It was passionate to the acute.”

They’re grateful for the timing of the journey, which occurred simply earlier than COVID-19 put everybody on lockdown. They explored town, marveled at how accessible most of it was, and got here residence with so many good recollections, as Linda stated, “It was the journey of a lifetime.”

Lara Bricker is a former employees author for the Exeter Information-Letter, the writer of two books of non-fiction and an Exeter resident. She may be reached at An audio podcast model of this column is obtainable at and on most podcast platforms.

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