Matthew Silvas II was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy four years ago. DMD is a form of muscular dystrophy affecting one in 3,600 boys, which results in muscular degeneration and eventual death,” said Anna Marie Silvas, his grandmother.
Symptoms usually appear in boys before age 6. The illness causes muscle weakness in the legs and pelvis and eventually in the arms, neck and other areas.
Children with DMD typically need braces for their legs at the age of 9 and are wheelchair bound by 12.
“Matthew has been blessed with an abundant love and support from family, friends and the community,” she said.
Known affectionately as “Baby Matt” by his family, the 8-year-old boy is in second grade at First Baptist Church School.
“When Baby Matt was diagnosed with this disease, it broke our hearts,” said Stephanie Silvas, Matthew’s aunt. “We had lost my sister to cancer just a few years before, and the diagnosis was, at the time, very bleak.
“I was actually about to start my third year of law school and contemplated coming home to spend as much time with him as I could.”
A story, she said, that appeared in this newspaper about four years ago prompted an outpouring of support for her and her family.
Now, teaming up with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the family is holding a Muscle Up for Matthew Race fundraiser on Sept. 14.
The race begins at 6:30 a.m. at Coastal Bend College with a run or walk in the half marathon, 5K race and family mile.
The goal, his grandmother said, is to help fund “continued research and a cure for Matthew and all other children affected by this horrific disease.”
Her hope is to raise $10,000.
“For this reason, we invite you to participate in this year’s exciting race,” she said. “We encourage your business associates, office staff, friends or family to unite as a team to fundraise for MDA in this fight against DMD.”
His aunt said, “There have been huge developments in research for Duchenne’s disease.
“Researchers are very close to finding a cure.
“We chose to organize this run because we knew we would find support here in Beeville.
“MDA has a slogan ‘make a muscle,’ so the run is aligned with that theme.
“We are asking Bee County and the surrounding areas to muscle up by running this event and providing funds that will provide researchers the tools to cure our baby Matt.”
Those wishing to participate can sign up on online at muscleupformatthew.com/registration or by calling 361-343-0299 or Stephanie Silvas at 361-343-1006.
Registration deadline is Monday for the half marathon and 5K. Registration for the family mile is on the day of the race; however, registering in advance is encouraged.