The Lybrand family motto is “finish strong,” which, for them, means never giving up and always turning can’ts into cans. It’s no wonder, then, that the youngest Lybrand, 6-year-old Ethan, is a living embodiment of the Live Unlimited spirit.
Just three days before his second birthday, Ethan was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Although the deadly disease will gradually take away his ability to walk, run, hug and even breathe, the Lybrands choose to focus on helping Ethan live life to the fullest today.
“We don’t tell Ethan he cannot do this or he cannot do that because of DMD,” said Jordan Lybrand, Ethan’s mom.
A self-professed “daredevil,” Ethan loves swimming, playing sports and rooting for the Alabama Crimson Tide. When he’s at MDA Summer Camp, where limits don’t exist for kids living with muscle-debilitating diseases, he is giddy about riding the zip line. “It felt like I was flying,” he says with evident glee.
Despite his inherently adventurous spirit, Ethan and his family have been advised to look for less physical activities, such as music and art, into which the energetic boy can channel his drive.
To that, Ethan says, “Just watch me!” He achieved one of his many Live Unlimited moments when he took the field to play tee-ball, defying the expectations of others and proving to himself that barriers can’t stop him from reaching his goals.
Dad Josh explains, “Jordan and I are both former athletes, and we coach sports teams, so having our only son not being able to play sports was just hard to swallow. So when said he wanted to play it just made us so happy.”
The Lybrands are passionate about spreading the Live Unlimited spirit to others as well. They frequently attend and speak at events like MDA Muscle Walk and Fill the Boot, and Ethan enjoys meeting MDA friends and supporters as the 2016 MDA Alabama State Goodwill Ambassador.
Ethan, his parents Josh and Jordan, and his sister Chloe are especially hopeful about MDA’s research progress and believe treatments and cures for DMD could be right around the corner.
While they are also optimistic about Ethan’s future, they try to stay rooted in the present. As Jordan says, “We let him live life every day without a care in the world. We encourage him to do that by simply living each day to the fullest and making each day better than the one before.”
Have you shared how you #LiveUnlimited yet? A generous donor is now giving MDA $5 for every image shared!
Sharing is easy — it takes 1 minute or less:
- Snap a photo
- Visit mda.org/LiveUnlimited
- Upload and customize your image with our easy-to-use tool
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One minute of your time, $5 for MDA. Challenge 5 friends to do the same and that’s $25 more!