Mineola boy won't let rare disease slow him down - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Mineola boy won't let rare disease slow him down

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Ethan Duplechein, Source: Facebook Ethan Duplechein, Source: Facebook
MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) - Ethan Duplechein was born with Caudral Regression Syndrome, which means he is missing part of his lower spine and can't move his legs. Doctors said he would never be mobile or even able to sit up on his own. 

Ethan is defying those doctors' predictions. He starts first grade at Mineola Primary School on Monday. 

"Talking about him right now, I get chills because it just makes me realize there shouldn't be excuses for why you can't do things because you have a disability or because you think you're different. He doesn't let that bother him at all he just goes on," says Sylvia Harris, Ethan's kindergarten teacher.

Harris says Ethan is like every other six year old, "Nothing kept him from doing anything the other kids did."

That attitude is instilled in Ethan by his mother.

 "We never say can't. We've always just said, 'If you want to do it, do it and you can,'" says Ashley Duplechein, "If he can't do it just like everybody else, he's going to find a way to do it the way he does it."

Ethan also finds ways to work on what his family calls his "special tricks." Moments after meeting his new teacher, Ethan walked on his hands and did several pushups.

"We kind of had to get brave so he could try new things, so that's what we do," says Ethan's mom, Ashley.

Ethan's latest hobbies include baseball and swimming, two things doctors never expected him to do.

"They suggested he wear a plastic vest and be suspended on the back of a wheelchair frame because he wouldn't bear weight on his legs," Ashley Duplechein says.

They were wrong about that, but there is one thing that sometimes holds Ethan back; his wheelchair.

"When you push him, the wheels rub on his little knees," says Harris.

"It's not quite tall enough for him to be up at the lunch table, so he has to sit in a separate office chair to eat lunch and things like that," Duplechein says.

Ethan says he found a new chair online with a custom design.

"It has the flames on the seat and tail pipes," Ethan told us.

Ashley Duplechein says the wheelchair is designed like a motorcycle. Her goal is to raise enough money to help Ethan get his dream wheelchair so he can continue sharing his love for life with everyone he meets.

To help Ethan get his dream wheelchair, click here.

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