LODI (WKOW)--A Lodi family opened their hearts and home to two children, adopted from China and Korea. Both kids went through routine tests to make sure they are healthy. But something just wasn't right for little Justin. Justin Gorton is 'Someone You Should Know.'
10-year-old Justin Gorton has a smile that fills a room.
9-years ago, it was that smile that Julia Edwards and John Gorton fell in love with. They adopted Justin from Korea.
Tests run the gamut as with any new child, especially an international adoption. Everything was coming back fine for little Justin. But, doctors said they just had a couple more tests to run.
"When they ruled out any liver inflammation or liver problems and he said I think we better do these additional tests, that's when they discovered that he had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy," said Julia.
"It was always something that happened to somebody else," said John. "We didn't know anyone who had it."
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is one of nine muscular dystrophies. Justin knows he has some limitations.
"I have muscular dystrophy and it affects my legs and it's hard for me to walk," said Justin.
It's when there is a protein missing that helps keep muscle cells intact. It eventually weakens muscles; from the legs and shoulders and eventually the heart and lungs.
"There's a whole period of almost grieving that you go through when you first find out your diagnosis," said Julia.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is usually not diagnosed until past 2 years old.
"I like to keep up with my friends, but I can't really," said Justin.
Justin is still walking and more mobile than other kids his age with Duchenne's because he disease was found early.
"People my age are already in a wheelchair if they have Duchenne's," said Justin. "I'm pretty lucky."
Justin will often use what he calls the G-ride to get around.
The stroller helps Justin do more than he would otherwise, like go on vacation and head up the hill to see his new bunny, Ninja.
Justin's family knows the disease will progress. But that's not stopping them from showing Justin a normal life and letting him be a kid.
"I can walk and it's fun to do stuff right now that I can," said Justin.
Muscular Dystrophy Association is there for Justin and the family; with help for some of the medical needs health insurance doesn't cover and also research.
"We're on the internet support group with other parents with kids with MD and coordinated health care is a real tough thing for a lot of parents," said Julia. "If you live in a rural or more remote area, you don't have the good facilities and the support and the good specialists like we have here in the Madison-area. We are lucky and MDA coordinates that."
Justin knows thanks to your donations to MDA, he and others can be kids again at camp and have hope for the future.
"Because it's more money for research and stuff," said Justin. "So they can find a cure."
"A cure offers everyone hope and a cure isn't going to happen without research," said John. "It's very important that research continues and even if it doesn't help Justin, somewhere down the line a cure will be found and it will help somebody."
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