“Our Capacity to Endure” by Ricky Tsang

about the author:

Ricky Tsang was a pillar in our Duchenne community for years. From his website DearRicky.com, to his Facebook group We Are Dystrophin, to his first book, Ridiculous: The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky’s Brain, Ricky’s priority was helping and advocating for our community – well, that and romancing women.

Shortly before passing away in 2016, Ricky shared the manuscript for his second book with me. It was never published and we would like to share it now with our DMD community.

Our Capacity to Endure
“Inspirational: My Big Mechanical Derriere”
—Chapter 1, Part 1—

When I was eight years old, when the progression started hindering my ability to walk, I always returned home with bloody knees. It wasn’t something to complain or cry about, as it was just that. Mom would put disinfectant on my wounds and I would be on my way. 

I was never someone who considered giving up. I knew something was wrong when my muscles were in the beginning stages of weakening, but refused to let go of my remaining physicality under any circumstance. Whenever Mr. Passell, my third-grade teacher, offered assistance, I’d insist otherwise, using the brick walls to lead myself inside, despite getting burned every time. I didn’t care because in my childish heart, there was a better chance at beating whatever I had if I kept fighting. In hindsight, I probably wanted to skip class. 

It’s about fighting for your life with dignity and grace. I suppose there wasn’t much of the latter, since kids kept making fun of me while I got myself up from the carpet after story time. I couldn’t blame them when I had to poke my little butt in the air, so laughed along. I thank God for my light personality because without it, my sanity couldn’t possibly have remained intact. 

I find it funny when people admire my bravery and strength. How could they, when I never had a choice? They tell me they wouldn’t cope in my shoes, but who am I that I should claim to be the better man? We all possess the capacity to find our way through hardships because our instinct for survival makes us human. Our obstacles may be dissimilar, but the spirit is in each and every one of us. 

Truly, if you own a mindset that relies on a foundation where you’re above others, you’ll eventually fall flat on your face. In order to understand what it means to be capable, it’s crucial to realize that possibility is among us no matter how, when, or where. If you can’t even see that in people, you’ll never harness your full potential.  

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