“Hi, my name is Mike Riley! I’m 40 years old and I’m from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I have a debilitating illness called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I was born in Boston in October 1981. When I was 2 years old I was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. For the next few years the illness progressed. At 10, I lost my ability to walk and was confined to a wheelchair. In the years since, I have lost the use of most of my body. I can no longer use my arms. My respiratory system has severely weakened to where I have a Trach and a ventilator to help me breathe. I also have a G-tube to help with nutrition because my ability to chew and swallow has become very limited.
I have been admitted to the hospital many times in my life because of operations and serious respiratory issues. On my 37th birthday, I actually died for a few minutes and was being pronounced until I inexplicably woke up. That’s when I had the Trach put in. Because of that and some amazing doctors, I am alive today and doing much better.
Despite everything I have been through in life, I am still a positive, optimistic person. I have bad days just like everyone else, but it’s rare. I am usually pretty happy and I try and make the most of my life. What keeps me going is my family and my friends. Without them, I don’t think I’d be here.
In my spare time I’m usually on my PC either surfing the web or gaming. I have several social media accounts. I also love to travel! We try to go on a road trip once or twice every year we’ve been all over the country. We’ve also gone on several cruises. Locally I like to go out to the movies and occasionally we go to a family or friends cookout usually in the Summer. That’s about it!
Something very important to me is helping raise awareness for Muscular Dystrophy with my fun and simple challenge I created, similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. All you have to do is sit in a chair (because it’s a little slippery) and put your bare feet into a tub of shaving cream. Then post the video on Social Media. Or instead donate to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Then challenge 3 of your friends to do a video of it as soon as they can. It’s fun and feels amazing on your feet. Trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing!”