Jesse's Journey marks quarter century milestone
Published Sunday, May 26, 2019 4:17PM EDT
Eric Morden has been attending Jesse’s Journey festivities for his whole life. Now the 18 year old from Oakville is set to embark on a journey of a different kind.
He’s attending Ottawa’s Carleton University in the fall with a major in biology.
"I’m interested in genetics,” says Morden. “The reason I’m interested in that because of my muscular dystrophy. I’ve always interested in how it works on a molecular level and finding possible cures for it..
Eric and his family were at Springbank Gardens for the annual 8.25 kilometre walk to raise funds in hopes of finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
“Duchenne is a progressive disease. The muscles get weaker, so I need to keep fighting this thing.”
Founded in 1994, this is the 25th anniversary of Jesse’s Journey. Under the guidance of new executive director Perry Esler, the foundation is reaching new heights.
They’ve incorporated a family forum into the weekend, and invited experts in the field. Saturday they were thrilled to have Dr. Jerry Mendell from Columbus Ohio.
Dr. Mendell has benefitted from the foundations donations over the years.
"Right now, we’re having huge successes that we wouldn't have had without foundations like this supporting research,” says Mendell.
Esler, who took over the lead of this charity last year, feels the new additions to the weekend were beneficial for those fighting against Duchenne.
“Dr. Jerry Mendell is a rock star and celebrity for these families. What they saw was some of the research that’s being done. There were 30 families from B.C. to St. Johns who came and sat with researchers to heat the latest science that will hopefully find that cure someday.”
Lasalle native Tory Provenzano was a speaker prior to today’s walk. He’s about to attend the University of Windsor in computer science.
“It was awesome to hear the latest innovations in medicine,” says Provenzano. “The one about Dr. Mendell was amazing where he talked about a boy who couldn’t climb stairs, and then 60 days later, climbed stairs no problem because of the new medicine.”
Both Tory and Eric are high school kids with hopes of long futures ahead. But with no current cure for their disease, they can only continue with clinical trials, and fight.
“I'm waiting for a cure, “ adds Provenzano. “The current treatments are good now though, so I'm going to keep going until treatment is available.