Eighteen-year-old Brandon Martz will travel from Michigan to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness for muscular dystrophy (MD) and see the nation’s capital in one “final Dream trip” with the support of Dream Foundation.
Brandon was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) when he was four and was given only 10 years to live. Fortunately, a clinical trial he has been participating in for the past eight years has increased his life expectancy and given him the opportunity to enjoy every moment he can.
Brandon always has shown an interest for history and governmental affairs, according to a press release. He was elated to have the opportunity to vote in his first presidential election November. If it wasn’t for his condition, the release said, he would have wanted to join the U.S. armed forces after graduating from high school.
With the help of Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults that fulfills final dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life, Brandon will have the opportunity to see and experience Washington’s many monuments, memorials, museums and the Pentagon.
Brandon mostly is excited about visiting congressmen and senators at the nation’s capital. He wants to thank them personally for pursuing necessary research, medications and treatments that rare diseases such as his require. He hopes to share his story after his trip.
“I want to take this trip while I can still use my arms to be able to enjoy the trip. I want to go without a ventilator hooked up to my wheelchair. I don’t want to wait until it’s too late for me to enjoy visiting Washington, D.C.,” said Brandon, who is progressively losing physical abilities due to DMD.
Southwest Airlines, a Dream Foundation’s partner, will fly Brandon, his parents, and his 16-year-old brother to Washington. Southwest also will offer accommodations and facilitate a series of outings to bring Brandon’s final dream a reality.
Over the past two decades, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 25,000 final dreams. The foundation receives no state or federal funding and relies solely on private donations. Those who wish to support Dream Foundation’s mission, but don’t want to donate, also can become a volunteer and get involved with the cause by donating time.
The Foundation also has a Dream program for veterans who served from World War II to the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That includes veterans who served during peacetime during that time, those who are on active duty, and those in the Reserves and National Guard.