Hope is a word that is held close to the heart at the Bush home in Escalon.
There is hope that 13-year-old Camden Bush’s medicine will continue to slow the progression of his disease. There is hope that the good days far outnumber the bad. There is hope that Tanya and Chris Bush can give their son the things that put a smile on his face, whether it’s a new video game or a family outing for ice cream.
And mostly there is hope that there will be some medical advancement down the line that will help Camden.
Camden has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is a progressive weakening of the muscles. It is caused by a gene mutation and is far more prevalent in boys. The muscle weakness typically starts in the legs, thighs and pelvis, leaving most unable to walk by age 12. The progression will continue, eventually weakening the heart and lungs. Life expectancy is estimated to be around 25 to 26 years, though it can vary case to case.
There is no known cure and treatment mostly focuses on controlling the symptoms and slowing the progression.
Some of the first signs of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are a tendency to fall and an awkward gait, both of which Camden had. It was just chalked up to clumsiness that Tanya and Chris thought he would outgrow, but as it continued, their concern grew.
“When he would fall we noticed that he had no natural reflex to try and catch himself,” Tanya said. “We needed to figure out what was happening. So, I tried to make an appointment with a doctor, but then there had apparently been a lapse in the insurance. So we had to go to a new pediatrician. And that actually wound up being a good thing, because this pediatrician actually knew right away what it was.”
Camden knows the progression of this disease and is processing his reality as only he can. He was granted a Make-A-Wish and he picked a family trip to Lego Land. He opted to take it while he could still do some walking. He is now 100 percent reliant on his wheelchair.
The fun memories made on that trip are ones that Tanya and Chris and Camden’s older brother Christopher want to make more of for him. But as Camden has grown transportation has become a bigger barrier.
“Right now, his older brother and I have to put him in a sling and it takes both of us to lift him in and out of the car,” Tanya said. “This gets tiring and can be painful for Camden. My husband is also disabled and can only walk short distances, which means we are often trying to figure out how to haul two wheelchairs.”
The family is hoping to purchase a van that has wheelchair accessibility.
“We have looked into different programs to help us get an accessible vehicle but there’s not much out there,” Tanya said. “We can apply for assistance next year but they still only cover half and we have to cover the other half. That’s a long time to wait. We have done extensive research and now we know about how much we will need to get a good quality used accessible van.
“We would like for him to be able to go places easier and enjoy life to the fullest while he still can,” Tanya said.
In an effort to help reach the amount needed to buy a van, the family has started a GoFundMe account. The link to the account can be found by searching Camden Bush or visiting the following link: bit.ly/fundcamden.