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Portland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Portland, Oregon | KGW.com

PSU athletes support 2-year-old and others with rare disease

They started the WILLPOWER program to raise awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease without a cure.

PORTLAND, Ore. — William Falger is a happy, energetic two-year-old. In February his parents got a devastating diagnosis: William has a rare form of muscular dystrophy known as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). It’s a disease without a cure.

“We hold on to the ever changing science and the hope for a cure,” said his mother Kati Falger.

DMD causes muscles to become weak and damaged over time. William is asymptomatic, but his parents say he will lose his ability to walk somewhere around age 10, and unless there's a medical breakthrough won't survive his twenties. 

Kati works in the athletic department at Portland State University. The school started WILLPOWER, a program where student athletes support various causes throughout the fall.

Jade Rafallo plays soccer for Portland State.

“I know for all the athletes it was just doing something related to their sport,” she said.

September is Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month and because of their connection to the Falger family, Portland State student athletes chose to support CureDuchenne.

They became pen pals with DMD patients and created videos to raise money and awareness about the disease.

Falger calls the student athletes and coaches at Portland State family.  She says the work they’ve done for CureDuchenne is a big help.

Learn more about the WILLPOWER program here.