How an NFL Player’s Advocacy for Duchenne Is Touching the Lives of Children
ADVOCACY Most people know Clay Matthews as the superstar Green Bay Packers linebacker with long, blonde hair and a trademark predator-sack celebration — I know Matthews as a person with a soft heart and a real passion for evoking change.
Matthews is a champion for boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne is a progressive muscle-wasting disease that primarily affects boys. By the time boys with Duchenne come of age, they can only watch in pain from the seat of a wheelchair as everyone around them moves flawlessly through life. As someone with this awful disease, I know what that feeling is like.
The story begins back in 2010 when CureDuchenne, a nonprofit started by my parents, had the opportunity to pick an NFL player to represent the Duchenne cause in a Cadillac promotion for the Super Bowl. I was 12 years old at the time, and Matthews was new to the NFL.
Since then, we have all grown so much — CureDuchenne, Matthews and I. With Matthews’ help, CureDuchenne raised over $1 million with the Super Bowl promotion, which allowed the organization to invest in early scientific research, resulting in the first FDA-approved drug to treat the disease. Matthews became an NFL superstar, and I grew up and went to college.
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