Coach To Cure, Sam's Day, North Texas FACES group, and now participating at PPMD’s Connect Conference at the end of June in Baltimore. These are just a few of the things 20-year-old Ben Dupree and his family participate in on behalf of the Duchenne community to raise awareness and to raise money for Duchenne research. As an adult, though, Ben is also participating in PPMD's pre-conference meeting concerning transition care. This generation of people with Duchenne are redefining what it means to be an adult living with Duchenne and Ben is adding his unique perspective. Meet our Featured Voice for June, Ben Dupree!
Hey Ben! Congratulations on finishing out the school year. I'm sure you are ready for summer! Tell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you and where are you from?
I am 20 years old from Dallas, Texas.
What are you studying? What do you hope to do with your degree?
Biochemistry at Southern Methodist University (SMU) with a minor in Computer Science. I wish to go into research in genetics. More specifically, computer assisted drug discovery and design.
That sounds pretty amazing! So Ben, what does it mean to have Duchenne?
It means I have limitations, however, they don’t keep me from living my life the way I want to.
You will be participating in the pre-conference meeting focused on transition. What does that mean to you?
It means that I get a chance to share the challenges I dealt with during the transition into adult life. I have the opportunity to share my experiences in dealing with depression, learning to drive, and attending college, in the hopes that I can help to make this transition easier for others.
What do you think are the most significant challenges adults with Duchenne face?
Staying confident enough to manage everything that comes with the Duchenne diagnosis. From daily routines to getting the services I need, there is a lot to think about.
We're glad you're going to be sharing your experiences. Have you attended the connect conference before?
Yes, last year (2012).
What was your favorite part about the conference?
My favorite thing was getting a chance to better understand my diagnosis, as well as current research by talking face to face with researchers and professionals in the research field.
You're right. It is a great opportunity to connect with top experts in the field. Besides attending the conference, what other activities are your family involved in to raise awareness?
We are involved in Coach to Cure, Sam's Day, and the FACES group in North Texas.
Finally, if you could have dinner with any three people, real or pretend, living or deceased, who would you choose and why?
I would like to have dinner with Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Stephen Hawking so that I could learn many great and interesting things about the universe we live in.
WOW! That would be a lively and extremely intelligent group to have dinner with! Thanks for spending some time with us and we look forward to seeing you at the 2013 Connect Conference in Baltimore!