"In the confrontation between the river and the rock, the river always wins...not through strength but by perseverance." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It’s not easy living with muscular dystrophy, but to do it with a smile is in a class of its own.  That’s just one reason why Jake Bray was chosen as the 2021 recipient of The River & The Rock Perseverance Award.

Jake did not receive the award until February 2022. That’s because every time the award presentation was set, Jake ended up in the hospital.  Fighting for his life in a hospital bed and suffering from pneumonia, Jake responded back, “Give me a little more time to get better, and we can get together then.” That positive attitude is what helped him get out of the hospital and another reason why Jake is MDFF’s first perseverance award winner.

“I've never given up,” said Jake, “Even while having muscular dystrophy held me back in more ways than one.  It has molded me into who I am today, a guy with a lot of life to live and doing my best to live it.”  

Jake is no stranger to hospitals, in 1996 when he was first diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he had a bicycle accident. He fell off a bridge and went into a coma. He was only 10 years old. A year later he had his second bicycle accident, and again he went into a coma and was in Methodist hospital for a month. In 1999 another coma occurred. Jake received a tracheotomy and was in the hospital for about three months.

He returned to his eighth-grade class on oxygen. “I never once doubted that I'd conquer this major change in my life,” he said, “I look at life as a chance to adapt. Every day, muscular dystrophy brings me more struggles than anyone would like – but I keep pushing myself.”

After graduating from high school, he ended up at IUPUI where he earned a degree in medical billing and coding. Nothing keeps him down. This year, Jake will be turning 36 and plans to use the award money to travel. He has always wanted to see Miami and is now planning his next trip. 


More About The River & The Rock Perseverance Award:

The award is a gift from the Nicholoff Family that experienced first-hand the importance of a positive attitude, determination, and perseverance while fighting muscular dystrophy.

Click here to read about PJ Nicholoff who is saving many lives. 

Click here to read more about the award application process.