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O'FALLON -- No. 33 appeared to be the O'Fallon Little Panthers football team's most valuable
player at Sunday night's game -- almost as valuable as the touchdown he scored was to him.
Those in the stands and on the sidelines cheered and applauded Tyrek Newson, a 10-year-
old from Washington Park, as members of the Little Panthers pushed his wheelchair into the
end zone for the touchdown, an achievement that his muscular dystrophy makes difficult for
him to do on his own.
His mother, Alana Newson, said while she had no words to describe how much the
touchdown meant to her son, it was evidence that good things can come from bad
"It showed that even though you're born
with a life-threatening disease, it doesn't
stop you from enjoying every day of
your life," she said.
Tyrek was diagnosed with a type of the
disease known as Duchenne Muscular
Dystrophy, or DMD, when he was 9
months old. Newson said the disease
causes Tyrek's muscles to "waste away,"
limiting his ability to use his arms and
legs and leaving him with a life
expectancy in his mid-20s.
According to the Muscular Dystrophy
Association, DMD primarily affects boys
who inherit the disease from their
mothers who can be carriers without
ever showing any symptoms.
Newson said she is a carrier and Tyrek
contracted the disease at birth. The
youngest of three sons, a 6-month-old,
was just diagnosed last month.
Tyrek, whose mother described him as an avid football fan, was able to fulfill his drea