Tyler Peters, age 10, sits at the kitchen table working on multiplication tables while his brother Dillon, age 12, works on other homework from the living room.
“Mom, does five go into 15?” Tyler asks impatiently.
“Does it?” their mother, Melissa Hansen, asks back. “What do you think?”
Yes, Tyler remembers, five goes into 15.
These boys both receive mostly As, and some Bs, at school. Dillon attends Buffett Middle School, Tyler attends Fullerton Elementary. He wants to be a scientist when he grows up.
“One who explores the world,” Tyler says.
Their positivity is infectious, putting a smile on their mother’s face as she tries to help both boys at once. It is an attribute that serves them well.
“The thing that strikes me about them is they can remain so positive and find joy in life even though they are confined and can’t do the things their peers can do,” says their grandmother, Wendy Lundeen. “It does not seem to really bother them. They just remain so happy.”
Tyler and Dillon both have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a form of Muscular Dystrophy caused by a lack of the protein dystrophin. It is carried through the mother and usually affects boys, according to the National Library of Medicine.
The condition has made both boys wheelchair-bound, but they don’t let this slow them down. They both like to play baseball with the AllPlay League in Omaha, a noncompetitive league for people with disabilities; enjoy going to UNL football games; and have been to a Kansas City Royals game.
“They won the World Series this year!” Tyler beams.
He eats lunch with friends at school, but really likes to talk to his “bro,” who is his best friend.
“Tyler always puts his hand on Dillon, every time I take a picture,” Wendy says.
Dillon likes to read and sing. He has read the Divergent series and the Percy Jackson series, and he sang in the cantata at Covenant Presbyterian at Christmastime.
“I like to play Xbox and Minecraft,” Dillon continues.
They also like going to movies.
“Movies are our big thing,” Melissa says. “Majestic [Theater] has these reclining chairs that are great, because the boys can be in their chairs, and I can recline with them.”
The family remains positive through it all. Dillon and Tyler like to joke around with their friends. Melissa thinks about how lucky she is to have such loving, caring children. And Wendy?
“I’m always looking for ways to bring them joy,” Wendy says.