Cory’s Story

Last week, “06880” reported on the latest viral video: 6-year-old Ethan, a young Westporter with autism whose rendition of “Piano Man” has taken the internet by storm.

But can you make a video go viral — even for a cause as important as saving lives?

Dave Stalling — a Westport native, and father of an 11-year old boy — recently asked himself that question. So he created an emotional, heartfelt YouTube plea about his son. Cory has a fatal disease: Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“Funny and often silly videos go viral and get the attention of the world,” says Dave. “It may seem naive, or perhaps just a desperate attempt by a desperate father who loves his son. But I hope this more serious video will go viral enough to get the attention of influential, caring people who can make a huge difference and help save the lives of my son, and thousands of boys like him.”

Cory Stalling and his dad, Dave.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease for which there is currently no cure. But researchers are very close to finding effective treatments. Clinical trials are underway, with promising results. However, more money and support is needed.

“My hope is to raise awareness about Duchenne, strengthen support for finding a cure, and help us turn hope into reality,” Dave says. “I’m simply asking people to take 5 minutes of their lives to help boys like my son have full lives.”

Dave, who grew up in Westport and graduated from Staples in 1979 — where his mother still lives — often brings his son here to visit from his home in Montana. Photos in the video show Cory playing at Compo Beach and Sherwood Island, and boating and swimming in Long Island Sound.

Click on the video below — and then share it far and wide. For donation details, click here.

4 responses to “Cory’s Story

  1. Dan: Thank you for posting this! Cory, his mom Christine and I greatly appreciate your support. I hope it helps create awareness of, and support for, finding the cure that can save thousands of lives, including Cory’s!

  2. Our son, Peter, died of Duchenne Dystrophy in 1980, just as he was about to enter Staples High School in Westport. My husband Larry and I wish with all our hearts and resources that a cure comes in time for Cory; we’ve done our best financially to make that happen by establishing the Fund for Pete’s Sake, operated by the Fairfield County Community Foundation. The money the fund spins off each year goes to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the group we believe is most capable and committed to research as well as to providing services for kids and their parents. The money funds the salary of one researcher for one year. We had little reason to hope; happily, you do and we hope along with you. The Weismans Westport CT.

    • Mary-Lou: I am very moved by your comments. I do not know if you remember me, but I called you about 4 years ago when Cory was first diagnosed. I was a total wreck, and you were tremendously kind, empathetic and comforting. (I am friends with Bill Handley, and met your son Adam in Tucson.) I have now read your book, “Intensive Care: A Family Love Story,” two times. The pages are stained with tears. It’s a powerful, informative book that helps me cope and face reality. Thank you for writing it. I can’t even imagine dealing with the loss of a child (though it crosses my mind every day, and is something I may have to face.) I not only greatly admire, respect and appreciate your strength and courage – but also your efforts to help find treatments and a cure. Thanks to people like you, there is indeed hope for boys like my son Cory. It’s a war of many fronts with promising results coming from a variety of research strategies – it’s a disease surrounded by hope closing in! And I selfishly hope effective treatments and a cure are found in time to save my beautiful, wonderful boy. As I am sure you know better than me, having a son with Duchenne brings on a crazy, tumultuous, roller-coaster storm of conflicting emotions — I constantly vacillate between hope and despair. I cried for hours while making this video and can’t even watch it anymore; just hearing the song alone brings on pain and tears. The most emotionally draining aspect of it all was going through the old photos. Not that they trigger bad memories; to the contrary, they remind me of preciously amazing days! But it makes me sad to see how healthy, energetic and active Cory used to be. It’s not so much the photos remind me of what Cory once was (he remains a beautiful boy) but, in an admittedly selfish way, they remind me of what I then thought and hoped he would become. All of which gets me thinking about what lies ahead. We all have our own hardships to deal with. It’s both selfish and naïve of me to think, with all the problems in our world, that everyone will want to divert time and effort to my son and other boys who have Duchenne. Before I had a son with this terrible disease, before it affected me and my family so up-close and personal, I certainly paid no attention to the matter. I didn’t even know what Duchenne was. But now, of course, I am screaming for help to all who will listen – and I beg for people to contribute what they can. I agree with you that Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) is the most effective organization fighting to find treatments and a cure. All of the money we raise, and all of our efforts, goes to PPMD. Thank you for your support and all that you do!

  3. Long time reader, first time contributor but I wanted to drop a quick post to make sure you are aware of an organization called Cure Duchenne. cureduchenne.org

    It was started by my cousin and his wife after their son was diagnosed. Like you, they are taking the fight to this disease with the hope, support, and prayers from all of us.

    God bless you, Dave. You are not alone!