Story of inspiration

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2001

Modern technology has helped a rural Hartland man realize a longtime dream.

Saturday, November 03, 2001

Modern technology has helped a rural Hartland man realize a longtime dream.

Email newsletter signup

Brad Goette had been thinking about writing a book about his life for quite some time. But because he suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, he hasn’t written by hand in four years.

Brad, 29, was able to start the book about a year ago and finish some six months later, thanks to his voice-activated computer and a special control pad.

&uot;He talked it all through with his voice activator,&uot; said his mother, Alice Goette. &uot;Sometimes he got a little hoarse.&uot;

Brad would work on the book for two or three hours a night. &uot;I started with the title and worked from there. I just kept doing it,&uot; he said, until the book’s 62 pages were finished.

&uot;I didn’t know how much I had until I was done,&uot; he said.

Brad’s book is called &uot;Brad’s Walk of Life,&uot; and it’s been published as an electronic, or e-book.

&uot;I would like it in book form,&uot; he said, adding he also sent the manuscript to a publishing house in Pittsburgh.

He said finding a publisher was the longest part of the process. Finally, he decided to self-publish with a company he found on the Internet. The book is available at, and Brad said people can read a sample of it before ordering.

&uot;If they want to order it, it’s about $6,&uot; Alice said. From there, they can either print it out or read it on their computer screens.

The book is divided into an introduction and six chapters: Childhood, School Days, Teen-age Years, Adventures, Sports and a New Era.

In his introduction, Brad talks about his family and his diagnosis with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or DMD, as an infant. Brad and his older brother Brian were both diagnosed with the disease. However, Brian died at age 16.

Brad writes: &uot;Hopefully you have learned something about my disease … One thing you can get from this chapter is how support of family helps. Some people in this world are not as fortunate as I. Help is out there when you need it.&uot;

DMD is inherited from the mother’s side, although women are only carriers, not victims, of the disease. Alice Goette had no family history of the disease until Brian was diagnosed, and doctors theorize her genes must have mutated. Alice and her husband, Vern, also had two healthy daughters in between their boys.

Brad appeared healthy as an infant, and lived his first few years like any other child. The disease, however, starts to show effects when the child is young. Boys with DMD lack a working version of an important muscle protein. The first symptoms are frequent falling down or inability to stand from a sitting position. The child’s muscles get progressively worse, and he usually loses most motor skills.

MD often affects respiration as the child gets older, leading to infections and the inability to breathe. Brad is kept going by a respirator attached to his wheelchair and plugged into his neck.

He could never play sports, but that hasn’t kept him from being an avid fan. &uot;He has a lot of heroes,&uot; Alice said. Brad admits Kirby Puckett is probably his biggest hero.

As his disease progressed, he continued to follow his teams closely, listing player stats and team information in reams of paper. When he could no longer write, he started keeping track on his computer.

Brad has been gifted with an incredible memory. &uot;If you forget anything, just ask Brad, he can tell you,&uot; his mother said with a smile.

The computer and the Internet have been wonderful things for Brad. &uot;I don’t know how I did it before I had it,&uot; he said.

Brad doesn’t get out much, but thanks to the computer, he is able to spend hours per day chatting with others, playing checkers and keeping up with his fantasy sports teams, all on the Internet. It was through the Internet that he met a young woman from Canada named Jordan. She was instrumental in urging Brad to write his book.

Brad remains optimistic throughout his book: &uot;I am defying the odds every time I have a birthday. … I plan on being alive in 29. Reason I say that, the cure for MD will happen. … About 14 years ago no one ever thought that would be possible.

&uot;The cure may not help me walk again. All I care about is regaining strength in my hands and arms. I would be able to feed myself, write and raise my hand over my head by myself. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is to me. The greatest thrill to me is seeing the young kids that are still walking with MD to remain walking. And stopping the next generation from even getting MD. That to me is more important than me being cured.

&uot;Every day is a walk of life.&uot;