Faces in the Crowd: K.J. Apple

Meet the Rapid City Area's new Muscular Dystrophy Ambassador: K.J. Apple.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Muscular Dystrophy Association or M.D.A fights to free individuals and families from their disease, as it can take away physical strength, independence and even life. Next month the M.D.A Muscle Walk and Fill the Boot events will be taking place to champion the cause. This week’s Faces in the Crowd is K.J. Apple, M.D.A’s new Rapid City Area Ambassador.

K.J. Apple

K.J. Apple- M.D.A Ambassador

K.J. Apple’s mom describes him as a happy-go-lucky kid who likes to play video games and read.

He’s not much different from his classmates besides that he uses a wheelchair. When K.J. was about 15 months old, he wasn’t hitting the crawling and walking milestones — after some testing, his family found out he had a progressive disease that causes weakness and wasting of the muscles in the arms and legs called limb Girdle disease.

K.J. is able to use his legs — only for short distances, as he tires easily.

K.J. says, “I have to be in a wheelchair because when I walk too long, I fall.”

K.J. Apple with gate walker

K.J. Apple with gate walker

He recently received a gate walker for extra support when he’s walking. He doesn’t let his way of getting around hinder his way of life.

Jennifer Brave Heart, K.J’s mother, says, “He’s finding his voice and everything he’s kind of learning about what his condition is and what that means for him, finding his place in the world, knowing that he’s kind of different than everybody else. But he kinda owns it, so it’s pretty good.”

As this year’s M.D.A ambassador, K.J. and his family are hoping to spread awareness of muscle disease and encourage the Rapid City and surrounding communities to donate to the cause if they can. K.J. is partnering with firefighters to ‘fill the boot’ next month and recently took a tour of the fire station and is excited to be working with them in the near future.  

Brave Heart says, “He’s kind of like a little advocate, somebody to put a face to the organization and kind of say ‘hey this is where your money is going.’ He’s able to share a little bit about himself and what his journey has been like living with muscular dystrophy.”

K.J. Apple with dad

K.J. Apple with dad

For more on the M.D.A. Walk on May 21, click here.

Categories: Faces in the Crowd, Local News