10 Inspiring SMA Stories

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by Chris Comish |

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Follow AJ Brockman‘s story in this film shared in 2011. AJ is an award-winning digital artist from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida who has always loved art. Diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in infancy, AJ has been wheelchair-bound since he was two years old.

Eight notable people who have spinal muscular atrophy.

In this MDA video meet Joe Akmakjian, a 24-year-old with SMA who lives his life to the fullest and is about to embark on his biggest test of independence yet. (Hint to his family: He’s moving out.)

“I’m definitely disabled, its part of my identity. But it’s not the first thing I think of, and it’s not the biggest component of my life.” — Joe Akmakjian

Learn more about the five steps of SMA diagnosis.


Starting a family can be a difficult topic to broach when you have a disability. In this video from Channel 4, we meet Jaz and Kelly. Kelly has spinal muscular atrophy(SMA) and is wheelchair-bound.

Eight notable people who have spinal muscular atrophy.

This ASCA video introduces Chris Leon from Verdugo Hills High. Diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) as a baby, Chris was not expected to live past two years old. However, he defied all odds and is now a 22-year-old student.

Find out more about some of the issues young adults with SMA have. 

This film, directed by Jeremy Ryan Carr and shared in 2013, is about Bryce. Bryce was diagnosed with SMA at the age of 15 months and his parents, Kelly and Dan, were told it was unlikely that Bryce would live beyond his second birthday.

Find out more about a charity which helps children with severe disabilities play video games.

**Warning, video contains adult language.**

This SoulPancake film, shared in April 2013, follows Shane Burcaw, a 20-year-old student with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and his friends and family. The video shows why his optimism and lust for life makes him such an inspiration to everyone he meets.

Eight notable people who have spinal muscular atrophy.

In this Goodentree video, we see how Nora, a sweet six-year-old girl who was born with type I spinal muscular atrophy(SMA), gets fed through a tube because she is unable to swallow.

Read about five experimental SMA therapies you might find interesting. 

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