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What is Becker's muscular dystrophy?

Treyson Walker holds up his cake, "Wishes do come true" on Aug. 10 in Rocky Butte Park, surrounded by his parents, Brad and Amanda, his brother, Cameron, and sister, Karinna.

The first clue of an impending illness was when Treyson Walker had leg spasms on a bouncy castle last summer.

His parents, Brad and Amanda Walker, thought it was a pinched nerve, but it happened again when they were shopping for groceries.

Treyson was taken to the pediatrician who ordered tests for elevated creatine kinase levels (CPK), a marker for the Becker's muscular dystrophy.

The marker came back positive, and then his 2-year-old brother, Cameron, also tested positive. At this point, Cameron has no symptoms.

"When Treyson has an episode he cannot walk, he cannot move his feet until the muscles release," Amanda said. "He screams bloody murder until his legs straighten out. We wait it out and for the next couple days, his legs are sore."

Becker's muscular dystrophy is related to Duchenne muscular dystrophy in that both result from a mutation in the dystrophin gene. Symptoms include difficulty walking and climbing stairs, frequent falls and painful muscle contractions. Complications could include cardiomyopathy and respiratory failure.

The disorder has a slower rate of progression than Duchenne's. It is an X-linked recessive inherited disorder. Women rarely develop symptoms, but may be carriers.

Carrier females have a 50 percent chance of passing the mutation to their children. Sons who inherit the mutation will be affected, daughters will be the carriers, according to a medical report.

Treyson also has a secondary disorder related to his feet.

"If you look at his feet, they go like a C," Amanda said. "He eventually may need surgery to continue walking, which is completely unrelated to the muscular dystrophy."

The medical name is metatarsus adductus, a foot deformity that is thought to be caused by the infant's position inside the womb.

The family recently consulted doctors at the Shriner's Hospital in Minneapolis, and will return in a year for further monitoring of the foot deformity. The problem may correct itself, or be treated through stretching exercises, splits or surgery.

The quality of life for patients with Becker's muscular dystrophy will be impacted by the disorder. However, independence can be maintained with assistive devices. Patients can still drive, work, start families and maintain active lifestyles, according to a medical report.

"Treyson can be fine until his late 40s or 40s or wake up tomorrow and spiral downhill," Amanda said. "Some days are better than others. I know there are days he has problems with the stairs."

Moving here from eastern South Dakota, the Walkers are working to secure a loan to purchase a handicapped accessible house. In addition, Treyson is transferring from Roosevelt Elementary School to Prairie Rose, which has no steps.

"I think the hardest part for me is they start as babies -- you watch them learn how to walk and now you watch that being taken away," she said.