FRISCO - Matt Martin of Forney is 26 years old. People with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which Martin is battling, usually only live to be 25 or 30.
"It means I need help with most every day chores,” he said, “and I can't take care of myself or do anything for myself."
He is in a wheelchair, has little use of his hands and arms, and no use of his legs. But that doesn’t interfere with a life-long love of America’s pastime.
"I love baseball, and have since the first time my parents took me to a baseball game," he said. "That was back in 1996."
He was close to Nathan Rothe's age then.
Nathan is nine years old and Thursday night, he and Matt were side by side at the Frisco Roughriders game.
Matt looks at Nathan and remembers a time when he could still stand and walk and joke and play, as Nathan can. But Nathan's future is Matt's present life.
Nathan was diagnosed with Duchenne when he was five. Doctors say he will likely have to begin using a wheelchair in the next five years.
But Matt wants him to know something.
"Just because he has Duchenne doesn't mean he's going to grow up to be different; I grew up, got married, you can be pretty normal despite this disease,” Matt said.
Matt hasn't stood on his own since he was 14 years old.
Since Matt can't throw out ceremonial first pitches, but Nathan can, they took the mound together at Dr. Pepper Ballpark. For the second year in a row, The Frisco Roughriders let this duo throw out a pitch to raise awareness about Duchenne. Other minor league teams have welcomed Matt and young people with Duchenne, including a team in Michigan where a patient will throw out a pitch later this summer.
But Matt has big-league dreams.
"I'd really love to be able to have a kid throw out the first pitch at every major league stadium,” he said. “That’s my goal.”
No one in the majors has said yes yet, but Matt won't give up. He never has. And he never will.