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How A Teen Who Can't Mountain Climb Got His Name On Top Of Mt. Everest

The San Ramon Valley High School student’s name is displayed on a flag on the world's tallest peak, thanks to a special expedition.
How many people reading this have been to Mt. Everest? Sixteen-year-old Alex Maddux, a sophomore at San Ramon Valley High School, hasn’t, but his name is on a flag there.

Maddux has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness. A few months ago his mother Kim became aware of an expedition to Everest Base Camp with a flag carrying the names of 1,000 Duchenne patients--both in honor of current patients and in memory of those who’ve passed away. Kim immediately had Alex’s name added to the Hope-Memory flag.
“Anything that I can do to get the word out about Duchenne’s, I’ll do,” Kim Maddux told Patch. “To spread the word and fund research.”

While Alex can still walk, he rides a scooter to school. Kim says he needs help with his backpack and other everyday tasks. As things currently stand, he will never make the arduous hike to the 17,500’ Everest Base Camp, but he’s proud to have his name there.

“I showed a photo of the flag to Alex with his name on it, and his face lit up,” said his mom.

The goal of the seven expedition members, who were accompanied by two Nepalese guides, was to raise awareness about Duchenne and raise research funds.

Prior to leaving, a website dedicated to the cause read, “This team is made up of people who either have a child who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or who hold the cause close to their heart. Every step up the mountain will be a step that a boy with Duchenne can never take because his muscles are wasting away. Every step will hopefully help raise thousands of dollars towards an effective treatment or cure for this...disorder.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up. It’s raised more than $25,000--which will be used to fund research for a treatment or cure for Duchenne. The ultimate dream of Alex, Kim and other families touched by Duchenne is to have a cure.

That way--some day--Alex can carry his own flag to Mt. Everest Base Camp or, perhaps, all the way to the summit.

--Photo of Alex provided by family; photos of Everest expedition via Everest to End Duchenne

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