Muscular dystrophy hasn’t taken away Tyson Freeman’s passion for the outdoors.
Tyson has a heart of gold and has never met a stranger he couldn’t get along with. If you get him talking about hunting, you can hear the excitement in his voice.
He is an amazing young man who never quits and refuses to give up his passion for hunting, and I am asking for your help to help make that a reality.
Muscular DystrophyMuscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of inherited diseases in which the muscles that control movement (called voluntary muscles) progressively weaken. In some forms of this disease, the heart and other organs are also affected. In its most common form, Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy causes progressive weakness that begins in the hips and moves to the shoulders, arms, and legs. Within 20 years, walking becomes difficult or impossible. Sufferers typically live to middle age to late adulthood.
Tyson sent me a friend request on Facebook with a message asking me to share a post about a fundraiser his friend has set up for him. I knew instantly that I wanted to do more than share his post. I wanted to tell his story.
After talking to Tyson on the phone, I knew this young man was special. He has a zest for life, huge heart and a passion for hunting.
He started hunting with his father at the age of 7, but was unable to keep up with him, often falling along the way.
At the age of 11 he underwent surgery to lengthen his Achilles tendon, and when that didn’t work, he was finally diagnosed with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy at 13.
When he was 11, he was hunting with his father when they spotted a whitetail buck. His father fired several times and was unsuccessful. Tyson fired one shot with his .243 Winchester at 250 yards and dropped him.
He was introduced to bowhunting by a friend and is now hooked, so much so that he no longer hunts with a rifle.
When I asked him what his favorite animal to hunt was, it was apparent he had a passion for turkeys. I would even say he has “turkey fever,” although he has only had the opportunity to hunt in Nebraska.
Tyson hasn’t let his disability get the best of him. He still goes out hunting as often as he can, relying on friends and his younger brother to help him get to the blind or the treestand.
His disease has started to progress much quicker than the doctors had first estimated, and over the last year and a half he has started to struggle more with walking. His mother said that they dreaded the day they would have to make the decision for him to stop hunting… That day is fast approaching.
Tyson is 6’4” and if he falls, he is unable to help himself back up without assistance. It’s difficult for his friends to assist him back to his feet. For him, hunting is limited to being dropped off by a vehicle at the blind or treestand, and most of the game is scared away in the process.
Freeman after a successful turkey hunt
He also enjoys shed hunting but is limited to what he can find driving around in a truck.
His spirit is amazing. Nothing is going to keep this young man down. He remains positive 99% of the time, because he feels like it won’t do any good to dwell on things—it will only make things worse 10 times faster. He stated that he has a very supportive family and great friends.
He is also blessed with an amazing fiancé who helps him with his everyday challenges. He describes her as the “Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”
She’s been by his side for a year and a half and hasn’t batted an eye about all of the challenges. He hunted 70 days last season; she didn’t say a word about it, and often joins him hunting and fishing. He is very excited about their upcoming wedding in June.
Tyson and his fiancé in their engagement photos
Knowing that this may be his last year to hunt, Tyson’s friend Landon decided to set up a fund for him to buy an Action Track wheelchair that would allow Tyson to continue to hunt.
This wheelchair would actually allow him to hunt in places that he wasn’t able to get to before. It would restore his freedom.
The chair has the ability to cross dirt, mud, rocks, snow and water; these were things that Tyson couldn’t cross before. Landon felt sadness for Tyson every time he had to sit and wait in the truck instead of being able to hunt alongside them.
Landon, along with another friend, started an outdoor filming company called Buck Brothers and invited Tyson to join them. Now he does all of their video editing.
Due to his disability, Tyson is unable to work. Getting a wheelchair could also mean a job, which is something he never thought possible.
I asked Tyson if there was another animal that he had wanted to hunt and he said it would have to be an elk because of the similarity of hunting methods with turkeys. He has also dreams of getting a turkey Grand Slam – his ultimate goal.
He went antelope hunting this year and felt like if he used a wheelchair he would have been successful. He was unable to follow his friend and had to sit and watch from the truck.
Another harvest by Tyson Freeman
Tyson invites other people that he meets on Facebook to join him hunting to make it fun. He is a family man and enjoys hunting with his 14-year old brother. Hunting has given them a special bond.
I urge you to help him continue with his passion for hunting and donate to his fund.
He invited me to join him on a turkey hunt and I hope someday I can do just that. He is a great inspiration.
Images courtesy Tyson Freeman