Wheelz (a/k/a Ryan Schmidt) is a 20-year-old musician from Austin, Texas. He is an accomplished rapper, and with his family, hosts Ryan’s Day – one of the largest annual fundraising and awareness events for Duchenne in Austin, just held last week. The combination of his inspirational raps and Ryan’s Day remind people outside the community that we are in a fight to end Duchenne and need every bit of support we can get. It’s for this reason - his dedication to raising awareness and inspiring people through his craft – that we choose Wheelz as our Featured Voice for October. Meet Ryan “Wheelz” Schmidt.
Meet Ryan “Wheelz” Schmidt
It’s great to meet you Wheelz! You’re the first rapper we’ve featured in our newsletter and it’s a privilege to have such a talented musician. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ryan Schmidt a/k/a Wheelz, I am 20 years old, and on December 20th, I will be 21! Born and raised in Austin, Texas. Interested in anything to do with music, writing lyrics, motivating others, playing sports on X-Box 360, girls, attending car shows, and speaking at high schools. I had the privilege to speak at The University of Texas at Austin, raising awareness and funds to END DUCHENNE!
That’s excellent! When did you learn about Duchenne? How do you answer people’s questions about Duchenne?
I was four years old when diagnosed with Duchenne. At age seven, I was unable to walk and began using the manual wheelchair full-time. I received my first powered chair at age eight. Roll-on!! Duchenne is a disease that weakens your muscles and until a cure is found it is 100% fatal usually by early 20s.
What do you think is the biggest challenge as a person with Duchenne?
Some of the biggest challenges are having to depend on others to dress, bath, eat, etc., going to doctor appointments every four months or sooner, and hanging out with friends but being unable to get in their cars to go places with them.
And yet in spite of these challenges, you started Ryan’s Day. How did it come about? What is your mission/goal?
Ryan's Day came about when we went to Dallas for Sam's Day and we thought that was a great idea for the Austin area, so we changed the name from the "PPMD Fundraiser" to "Ryan's Day!" The mission and goal of Ryan’s Day is raising awareness and funds to find a CURE. There's a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We just need to find it.
What have been some of your most satisfying/successful experiences with the event?
Most satisfying, successful experiences with the event? Knowing that people are leaving with knowledge of Duchenne – to look around and see all the people devoting their time and talents to help find a cure.
Tell us about your music. What/who is Wheelz?
My music is inspirational with a message that will touch your heart and soul. Through my music I'm able to express my experiences and perspectives living with Duchenne. Who is Wheelz? I’m an inspirational rapper that dedicates my life to help inspire people by raising awareness and funds to find a cure to “End Duchenne.”
What would you like to do next?
Finish my second album and have my music video, "Searching" on MTV and BET.
We can’t wait to buy it! Okay, last question… if you could have dinner with any three people, real or fictitious, living or deceased, who would you choose and why?
Thanks Ryan! You’re an incredible inspiration to all of us that we should not only pursue our dreams but find a way to make the world a little bit better while we’re here! Can’t wait for the new tunes, Wheelz!
To learn more about Wheelz and Ryan’s Day, and to download his music, visit:
Will Nolan, Communications Director
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