SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Muscular Dystrophy is a disease without a cure. One KELOLAND family is on a mission to change that. Now they’re taking that fundraising to another level by partnering with local runners.
Sawyer and Wesley Bryan are your typical brothers.
“Sometimes we play video games, sometimes we play with the neighbors,” 10-year-old Sawyer Bryan said.
But a few years ago, Sawyer’s parents noticed something might be wrong.
“We had him in soccer and we noticed he was having a hard time keeping up with the kids and running and maintaining pace so we just noticed he was missing some core strength,” dad, Beau Bryan said.
After a number of tests, doctors told the family that Sawyer had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. That was in December of 2019.
“That was a devastating moment for us,” Beau Bryan said. “Muscular dystrophy is the continuous breakdown of muscles throughout the body, legs, arms, your core muscles, the reason its terminal is because it starts to breakdown heart muscle.”
Wesley also had tests done and a couple of months later it was determined he also had the disease. While there is no cure, there are some things to do that can help so it doesn’t progress as fast.
“I stretch my legs and my hands, I don’t like it,” Sawyer Bryan said.
“A non-profit based out of Boston with world-renowned physicians collaborating across the nation,” Beau Bryan said.
Now the family is partnering with a local business and runners to help raise money for the non-profit.
Beau Bryan met Benson Langat through the 2022 Leadership South Dakota class.
“It was during the second session in Brookings where I felt it was the right time to tell a group of 42 people who were all strangers but are now best friends, the story of our boys, and even before I could get off the stage, Benson was walking up to me with a smile saying ‘I have a great idea on how I can help,'” Beau Bryan said.
Benson is a competitive runner. As a runner, he wants to use his talent to help others.
Benson is teaming up with another runner, Derrick Ettel, who are both Sketchers Performance Athletes, and 605 Running Company to hold a fundraiser called ‘Chase for a Cure.’ It will take place during the Skedaddle half marathon in April.
“I’ve been part of the Skedaddle program since it started and so I’ve been enjoying what it’s bringing to the community, and I thought about it, this would be a great cause to use running as a fundraiser, so I talked to Greg about it,” competitive runner, running coach, Benson Langat said.
Both Benson and Derrick will begin the race 5 minutes after the start of the race. Their goal will then be to connect with as many runners as possible.
“I am thinking about Sawyer and Wesley, I’m thinking about Beau is my brother, so he has become family, so I’m thinking about them, so my goal is to just do as much as I can do to help them because they care about their kids, so my goal is to encourage people, have as much fun as I can and fundraise for them,” Langat said.
The goal is to raise $25,000, so 605 Running Company is looking for people to sponsor the two runners.
“We want to get sponsors that will pledge our two runners and see how many people they can interact with, we call it an interaction, they’re not out there to blow past everyone, they want to cheer everyone on,” owner 605 running, Greg Koch said.
While it’s a big goal, there’s confidence it will be reached. Right now there’s about 1,000 runners signed up for the race.
Making this a way for people to step into action and support a local family.
“There’s a lot of great people in this city and state that want to help in this kind of scenario and this is a great opportunity to give them a chance to do it,” Beau Bryan said.
“I’m hoping for many people to show up, run, use the gift that God has given us and have fun with it and fundraise for the boys,” Langat said.