Derek was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2001 and has been in a wheelchair since junior high. But this hasn’t stopped him from living his life.
In high school at Papillion-La Vista South, Derek was involved in Student Council, Skills USA, Circle of Friends, and was a peer aide for students with special needs. He was regularly seen leading cheers in the Black Hole at sporting events. As a senior, Derek worked with two other Titans who shared his disease. Derek was their advocate when they needed him, serving with compassion and a smile on his face.
Derek is a community leader involved in many group rallies that support awareness and fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). He leads the MDA Muscle Walk and the Dillon Brothers Day of the Hog rally for Duchenne research. At 21, Derek is now the first adult Nebraska State Goodwill Ambassador for MDA.
Derek’s MDA involvement connected him with the Professional Fire Fighters Association of Omaha. He tells his story at fire stations throughout Omaha, at golf tournaments, press conferences, city council meetings, and fundraisers. For over a decade, Derek has written an article for the Omaha Professional Firefighters Inferno magazine. In recognition of his dedication and effort, the group voted for Derek to be named an honorary member of the Omaha Professional Firefighters Local #385.
Derek is a junior in college studying to be a graphic designer and plans to graduate in 2017. Outside of school and his numerous advocacy events, Derek enjoys video games, NASCAR, and the Huskers.
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