Kid with muscular dystrophy steals show at school play

Credit: KING

Kid with muscular dystrophy steals show at school play

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by ABBEY GIBB / KING 5 News

kgw.com

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 28 at 1:19 PM

PUYALLUP -- Thursday night, students at Puyallup's Emerald Ridge High School held their first performance of "Shrek".

In a starring role was 16-year-old Josh France, who is battling muscular dystrophy.

"That'd be really cool if I was able to get to Broadway," said France, "I feel like I have to prove myself more to everybody else that I'm the same as everybody else."

France's condition means his muscles gradually weaken. He already struggles to lift his arms. The condition has gone from his legs to his head. There is no cure. But so far, his singing voice is unaffected.

"When he sang, I was blown away," exclaimed theater director Chris Tavern, "I don't really know how to explain it, other than the dude knows how to sing and doesn't let his body get in the way of that."

At the final dress rehearsal Wednesday night, Josh's father Gary sat in the audience, watching a young dream become reality.

"As a father when we first found out that he had this condition everything in our life changed," he said, "Including a lot of the hopes and dreams that I had as a father.

"Watching him play football and other things," he continued, "I know that in that moment, everything was different."

Gary's experience is dampened by the knowledge his younger son, Sam, has the same fatal disease.

"(Other parents) see their kids grow and develop and they get stronger and better everyday," he said, "Everyday for us is waking up and realizing Josh is just a little bit weaker.

"It's really this race against time."

But for Josh, playing Humpty Dumpty in "Shrek" is the role of a lifetime. A dream, fulfilled.

"What's the point," he asked rhetorically, "What's the point of being down when you can just be happy and live life to the fullest?"

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