Service dog on the way for 10-year-old Utah boy

August 28, 2012

The Salt Lake City Tribune | August 28, 2012 | By Justina Mccandless

Ten-year-old Carter Veldevere cannot ring a doorbell, pick up a pencil or open and close a door.

When Carter was 14 months old, he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type II, a degenerative disease that gradually disables muscle movement throughout the body.

He’s been on a waiting list for a service dog for four years. But on Tuesday, Carter’s classmates, teachers and friends and family celebrated the news that Milk-Bone and Smith’s Food and Drug Stores are sponsoring his request for a service dog from the non-profit Canine Assistants.

“I’m very excited for my dog,” Carter said. “It’ll be a great dog, and I can’t wait to get it.”

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Steve Mikita’s not surviving — he’s living

April 15, 2011

Steve Mikita’s not surviving — he’s living

Deseret News | April 14, 2011 | By Lee Benson

I don’t care what you’re up against, what your challenges are, climbing Everest, swimming the Channel, fighting the high cost of living, every day facing a new ache and pain.

On the degree of difficulty scale, you will never approach Steve Mikita.

Steve has a degenerative neurological disorder called spinal muscular atrophy, which he was born with. His life has been one long parade of losing things: the ability to use his hands, feed himself, hold his head straight, wipe his nose, move.

Although no one keeps track of such things, at 55 he’s believed to be the oldest person ever living with SMA.

Living being the operative word.

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Steve Mikita ‘Sits All Amazed’

April 8, 2011

Steve Mikita ‘Sits All Amazed’

Deseret News | April 8, 2011 | By Trent Toone

The list of Steve Mikita’s accomplishments is impressive.

He graduated from Duke and then BYU Law School. He has served as Utah’s assistant attorney general since 1982 and handled numerous cases before the Utah Supreme Court. He has toured the country as a motivational speaker, and he has appeared on “60 Minutes.”

And he has done it from the seat of his wheelchair.

Mikita chronicles the challenges of life in a wheelchair and how he achieved success in his new book, “I Sit All Amazed: The Extraordinary Power of a Mother’s Love.”

Mikita was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that deteriorates the muscles. His parents were told multiple times to prepare for Steve’s death, but he endured. Among the many people and experiences that have shaped his life, he credits three key factors: his mother’s love, the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the example of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who also used a wheelchair.

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Hooper toddler dies of progressive illness

January 18, 2011

Hooper toddler dies of progressive illness

Standard-Examiner | January 18, 2011

HOOPER — A 2 1⁄2-year-old boy who was featured in a Standard-Examiner story about his struggle with a progressive neuromuscular disorder has died.

Karson Riggs, who had spinal muscular atrophy type I, died last week.

Karson was born April 12, 2008, to Jody and Darren Riggs, of Hooper.

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Utah attorney finds great success, despite lifelong disability

January 14, 2011

Utah attorney finds great success, despite lifelong disability

KSL (NBC) | January 14, 2011 | By Jennifer Stagg

SALT LAKE CITY — It can be tempting to feel sorry for ourselves when we are dealt a trial or struggle in life. But an attorney with the Utah Attorney General’s Office hasn’t let his wheelchair keep him from accomplishing remarkable things.

Steve Mikita has never taken a step in his life, never felt the weight of his body on his feet, never experienced the feeling of running. But that doesn’t mean he’s hasn’t taken bigger strides than most people ever do.

He’s just done it all sitting down.

“I always knew that yes, life would have its challenges and its inequalities,” he said. “But at the same time, it has a great deal of meaning and beauty and opportunities to serve and love.”

Mikita lives with spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that has deteriorated his muscles. But as an assistant attorney general for Utah and a graduate of Duke University and BYU, it’s rarely his disability people remember — it’s his passion and enthusiasm.

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WVC Teens Decorate Tree To Memorialize Fruit Heights Infant

November 22, 2010

WVC Teens Decorate Tree To Memorialize Fruit Heights Infant

The Salt Lake Tribune | November 22, 2010 | By Donald W. Meyers

Like most mothers, Kendra Webster thought her newborn daughter was perfect.

“Makenzie was an amazing girl,” the Fruit Heights woman recalled. “We never thought anything was wrong with her.”

But in November 2009, 4-month-old Makenzie was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress (SMARD). The disease, like Lou Gehrig’s disease, shuts down the body.

Makenzie died on Dec. 13, 2009, a month after the diagnosis.

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