31 Days of SMA: On Breaking Barriers and Keeping Hope Alive

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by Bionews Staff |

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Jose and his wife, Andrea. (Photo courtesy of Jose Flores)

Day 5 of 31

This is Jose Flores’s (@joseinspires) story:

A barrier is any obstacle that prevents movement or access.

My name is Jose Flores, and I’m a 45-year-old from Florida, a global motivator, consultant, and No. 1 bestselling author on Amazon. I’ve been breaking barriers since the day I was born.

I was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 3 when I was 3 years old. Doctors told my mother that I’d be in a wheelchair by the age of 15 and didn’t expect me to live beyond my teenage years. Well, surprise! I’m still here. There weren’t any treatments in sight when I was younger, so it was up to my family and me to keep a positive mindset and keep moving forward the best we could.

I always told myself that I was never going to allow SMA to stop me from living my life to the fullest, but it took me time to really believe in that statement. My younger years were great because I was still able to ride a bike, roller skate, climb trees, and play some sports.

My teenage years were both good and bad because that’s when things started to get a little more difficult. Doing basic things like going up and down the stairs, getting dressed, tying my shoes, and picking things off the floor began to get harder.

As I began to lose my ability to do certain things, one thing I never lost was hope — hope that one day God would heal me or that he would give some doctor or medical researcher the wisdom to create a cure or some type of treatment that would stop this disease from progressing or even reverse it.

I recently went to my first Cure SMA conference, and I sat in a room filled with so many others affected by SMA, their caregivers, families, doctors, and researchers. I thought to myself, “Looks like I wasn’t the only one keeping hope alive.”

Today, I’m a husband who just celebrated 15 years of marriage to my beautiful wife, Andrea. We have two amazing children, we own our home, I drive a car with a joystick, and we get to live our dream by traveling the world inspiring millions to live life to the fullest and never give up. I’m going to continue breaking as many barriers as I possibly can. Will you join me?

SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.