Ballou Skies - Duchene Muscular Dystrophy Ballou Skies - Duchene Muscular Dystrophy

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My name is Ryan Ballou and I am twenty-seven years old. I am currently working two part time jobs. I enjoy hanging with friends, reading, and playing video games among other interests. I am an all around nice, normal man. However, if you were to meet me in person you would notice something special about my appearance. Since age five, I have been afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a degenerative muscle disorder that affects all muscles within the body. Because of this debilitating disease I am confined to a motorized wheelchair and have very little strength. My family and I have had to cope with this disease and all of its complications my entire life. It is sometimes a challenge, but we always pull together and deal with whatever test is put in front of us from this disorder.


I am not writing all of these facts in search of pity. I want to tell my story to let every single person know that even in the direst circumstances there is hope. I have not let my disease define me as an individual. I enjoy life and do not let my situation hold me back from leading a full life. However, I feel that it should not stop there. I hope to spread awareness to every single person affected by Muscular Dystrophy and let them know that there is hope. My family and I believe that we could do something more to aid this cause. My father, Ty, along with our input, started a charity called BallouSkies to help spread more awareness and even raise money for research.

The amazing part of this whole story is that at age twenty-seven, my heart is still healthy and functioning as it should. This is crucial because as time passes, all muscles are affected by Muscular Dystrophy, and as we all know, the heart is the most important muscle of all. Also, the risk of heart complications increases with each passing year. Not all boys that are affected by this disease are as fortunate as me to have a healthy heart. Many of these boys, some even younger than me, are facing heart problems or will at some point in their lives due to the disease. My family and I believe that this is a very important issue. If we could somehow slow down or even stop these heart complications, better treatment or maybe even a cure are very possible one day. The main focus of BallouSkies is to raise awareness for this research and gain funds to aid the heart clinic at Ohio State University (OSU). Here, Dr. Subha Raman and her team of doctors are actually using MRI technology to scan the heart. These MRI scans show the doctor a patientís heart from every angle and every aspect of the heart can be scrutinized.
  At Ohio Stateís clinic, they are testing boys of different ages with this technique. The goal of this is to check for scarring and other heart problems and then track these problems with future MRIís. This would allow boys and their families to know if there is a complication before it may become untreatable. This can help DMD patients and anybody with heart problems. This research can lead to breakthroughs and may even aid in curing this incapacitating disorder along with many others.  
  This disease offers many challenges and complications, but with this treatment, we may be able to take some of the worry off of the families and the individuals actually suffering from this disorder. With this research, we could find treatments and learn even more from all of the data collected. Imagine longer life spans, and a better quality of life. This research, I feel, would be foolish to pass up. As I said, this research can lead to cutting edge treatments of any heart ailment, not just in those caused by Muscular Dystrophy. If we can help to slow down the deterioration of the heart, this may lead to other muscles and in turn could aid in finding a cure. As I have repeated, the heart is the powerhouse that runs our entire body and allows us to live. Therefore, I believe this is one of the most important avenues of research to follow.  

One hundred percent of the money raised by BallouSkies goes to the heart clinic at OSU which allows them to perform the MRI procedure and collect the data. That is why my family and I are trying our hardest to raise awareness. I am almost positive that many who read this will agree with me and find that it would be a shame if this research could not take place. Please help my family and me to help, not only myself, but all boys affected by DMD and all those affected by other forms of Muscular Dystrophy. Every little bit helps and together we can achieve the main goal of healthier hearts and longer life spans. We can battle the disease together and through our efforts, gain insight and create treatments that could help counteract the affects of this debilitating disease.

  The mission of BallouSkies is to provide funds for groundbreaking research that will assist boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. MD weakens all muscles, and without a cure all of their muscles will weaken and eventually fail. The funds  we provide are helping doctors to identify early muscle damage, especially in the heart, and develop better treatments to help keep boys stronger and healthier longer. If we can look at numerous boys, map the progression of scarring and weakening of these vital muscles, and test better and better combinations of medicines to limit scarring and strengthen muscle ä we can hopefully extend lives until  there is a cure!  

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