FAIRFIELD — Attending 12 schools in 12 years would be enough of a challenge for any student hoping to graduate with their class.
That’s what life has been like for Armijo High Class of 2014 member Tim Peters. But that was the easy part.
Peters has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which results in muscle degeneration and eventual death. He has been in a wheelchair since he was 11½.
The condition runs in his family. It can be traced back to his great-great-uncles, he said. He had two cousins with the condition. One died at 19, the other in his early 30s.
Peters was diagnosed a birth.
“I walked differently,” he said, of that time when he started walking. He was teased and bullied. A much quicker wit than his tormenters helped him survive.
When he was about 10, it became obvious he couldn’t keep up with the other kids, he said. It was difficult at times to watch his peers walk and jump, he said.
He’s never driven a car, a teen’s rite of passage.
If he wasn’t bound by his weak muscles, Peters said he’d be a wrestler.
“Even though I know it’s fake,” he said.
Cross-country and track would also be part of his life, he said.
He arrived at Armijo in December 2013 after having spent a few years in Arizona where he and his family helped take care of an aging relative.
Peters believes life is how you choose to see it and live it.
“I try to think of things positively,” he said. “Being negative keeps you low. You have to look up at things, not down at things.”
Not such an easy task physically for someone who hasn’t stood in years. The last time he did, Peters was measured at 5 feet 7 inches, with bent knees.
He plans to attend Solano Community College in the fall, where he will study art.
He chose not to live independently as he relies on his father and sister for assistance with dressing and personal hygiene.
“I really appreciate everything they do,” he said.
He hopes to be a successful artist in five years, with positive accolades under his belt.
Peters doesn’t know his life expectancy. The progressive disease eventually affects all voluntary muscles and involves the heart and breathing muscles in later stages.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.