May 7, 2021
Grant Edwards has a heart of gold. The 11-year-old would do anything for anyone and can put a smile on the face of everyone he meets.
When Grant isn’t bringing joy to others, he likes playing Legos, fishing and hunting, sports like baseball and hockey and watching movies—don’t forget the popcorn. He loves math and science so much, his mom, Mallory Edwards, thinks he will be an engineer one day.
While Grant looks like a typical 11-year-old to most people, he lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The rare genetic disease causes the muscles to become weak and damaged over time. Many people with Duchenne are wheelchair-bound by 12 years old, and the disease is often fatal.
“I have so many hopes and dreams for Grant,” Mallory told us. “I get teared up just thinking about them. With a life-threatening condition, I try to just live in the present. I want what any parent wants for their kids, even if it seems out of reach. I hope he can drive a car, go to college, live on his own, have a job—possibly as an engineer—travel the word, get a dog, marry and just live his best possible life.”
Despite his prognosis, Grant stays positive. He struggles to walk long distances and falls easier than others. With medication and physical therapy, Grant hopes to keep walking and gaining independence for as long as he can.
“He is such a fighter and our real-life superhero,” Mallory said. “Grant has made leaps and bounds with physical therapy, and it has been great to see him excel with a disease that does the opposite.”
Support for the Great American Bike Race (GABR) has helped make some of Grant’s successes possible. Grant has received essential equipment like a stairlift, bath chair, stretch mat, night splints and an electric scooter to help him get around on long distances.
“GABR funding has helped Grant so very much, as most medical equipment is not covered by insurance,” Mallory said. “I can honestly say without these things he couldn’t function on a daily basis, so we are sincerely grateful for the help. Words can’t even express our gratitude.”
New this year, GABR funding will also be available to support programs and services at Sanford Children’s Therapies. Now, not only can families apply for and receive funding, but they can also see the benefits of GABR in the therapies their loved ones receive. For Mallory, this means kids like Grant can have access to the latest and greatest therapy to help them reach their goals.
“That is so amazing for kids like Grant because they can be given more opportunities to do what other kids without disabilities that are their age can do,” Mallory said. “It impacts these kids so very much. Beyond physically, it’s mentally so good for them to be able to say, “I can do that too!’”
After watching many of his friends be GABR Stars, Grant has been patiently waiting for his turn.
“I wanted to be a GABR Star because it’s cool!” Grant told us.
“Being a GABR Star means so much to Grant,” Mallory said. “GABR has become a family tradition for us. We look forward to seeing all the other GABR families who are like family to us. Getting to see Grant’s smile melts all of our hearts.”
Help Grant continue to reach for the stars!
Join us for the 25th annual GABR Aug. 28 at the Bismarck Event Center.
4 ways to get involved: