Falls middle school students step up to help classmate

MENOMONEE FALLS -- Getting around isn't as easy for Menomonee Falls middle school student Dylan Smith as it for many of his classmates. Smith has Muscular Dystrophy, and requires a wheelchair. With Smith outgrowing his current chair and needing a replacement, Smith's classmates have stepped up to help, and at the same time, help other kids who are struggling.

Smith's condition, Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy, weakens the body's muscles. "If we get more than two inches of snow, he can't go outside with the chair that he has now because there's not enough ground clearance and with the littler wheels he gets stuck," Dylan's father, Kurt Smith said.

To help him get around easier, Dylan's parents want to upgrade his wheelchair, but that comes with a price tag of $10,000. "For him to have his mobility, it's something that we have to do," Smith said.

Dylan's teachers at North Middle School in Menomonee Falls agree. "This will allow Dylan to be more independent. He likes to hunt, he likes to fish, he likes to go on the beaches, he likes to go out in the snow," Dylan's teacher Ryan Anderson said.

So, Dylan's classmates have stepped up to help, and at the same time, they're using this opportunity to help other students who are victims of bullying. They've designed, and are selling anti-bullying t-shirts, and proceeds will benefit Smith's wheelchair fund. "Hopefully they see that the shirts help bullying, but they also help an even bigger cause. They're helping one of their classmates," Smith's classmate Austin Lisanske said.

The t-shirts quickly became a big hit with other students! "It makes me feel really good because it goes to show that even a little seventh grader can make a difference for somebody," another of Smith's classmates said.

Smith's family says the message behind the shirts, and the act of kindness has touched them. "To me, it's amazing to have these kids at this age have such a big heart," Kurt Smith said.

Smith's family is planning a benefit on February 26th from 1 - 4 pm at the Quilted Bear in Germantown. Tickets are $15 at the door or $10 if you get them in advance. Tickets can be purchased through any Menomonee Falls High School Student Council Member, at the Quilted Bear, or by e-mailing your number of reservations to esmith1680@wi.rr.com.

For additional details on this story, check out the article in the Menomonee Falls Patch by clicking here.