Rapper Wheelz Hosts Oct. 24 ‘Ryan’s Day’ Virtual Fundraiser for DMD

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by Aisha I Abdullah PhD |

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Ryan's Day

The 11th annual Ryan’s Day fundraiser, organized by rapper Wheelz to raise awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and help find a cure, will be live-streamed on Facebook on Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. (ET).

Ryan's Day

Official Ryan’s Day 11 Poster (Courtesy of PRWeb)

The event is scheduled to coincide with the reinvented Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, hosted by comedian Kevin Hart, which will stream online at 8 p.m. (ET) on the same day. 

This year, the Ryan’s Day concert is virtual for the first time, and will stream for free to audiences around the world, according to a press release.

Ryan’s Day is an annual fundraiser hosted by Inspiration on Wheelz, the nonprofit organization founded by Texas-based rapper Wheelz, known offstage as Ryan Schmidt. He was diagnosed with Duchenne at age 4. At 14, he began writing and recording rap music and now raps to raise awareness of the disorder.

Schmidt’s organization, committed to raising public awareness about Duchenne through education and music, has hosted the annual Ryan’s Day fundraiser since 2010.

The family-friendly event will feature a live music bingo at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (ET), and special guests including Scorpions‘ bassist Ralph Rieckermann and Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman and country music artist Dalles Jacobus. Katja Rieckermann, a solo artist who previously was singer Rod Stewart’s saxophone virtuoso, also will perform, along with surprise guests.

Guests will have the opportunity to participate in an auction and raffles to raise money benefiting Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), an organization working to improve treatment, quality of life, and long-term outcomes for individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and their families.

“Being virtual has proven to be a blessing,” said Leslie Schmidt, Ryan’s mother.

“We were able to secure higher-profile artists that haven’t been able to join us in the past due to schedules and distance. It’s much easier to get people to join us from their living rooms and hometowns,” she said.

The event will be emceed by Dr. Rock of Organized Chaos and Grace Sharington of Dremana Productions, and also will feature a performance by the fundraiser’s namesake.

“My music is inspirational with a message that will touch your heart and soul. Through my music, I’m able to express my experiences and perspectives living with Duchenne,” Wheelz said in a 2012 interview with PPMD.

“Who is Wheelz? I’m an inspirational rapper that dedicates my life to help inspire people by raising awareness and funds to find a cure to ‘End Duchenne,’” he said.