Courtesy Darius Weems
  • Darius Weems SS

    Darius Weems, an aspiring rapper and star of the documentary, "Darius Goes West," suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic disorder that results in the disintegration of muscle tissue. "Nightline" caught up with him on his 30-day "Believe" tour at schools across the country and while Darius participated in a clinical trial to help find a cure for DMD.
    Courtesy Dylan Wilson
  • Darius Weems SS

    For Darius, the disease has been a slow but steady progression. Growing up in Athens, Ga., he could walk when he was little, but was then diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy around age 5.
    Courtesy Darius Weems
  • Darius Weems SS

    By age 9, Darius transitioned to a walker and then to a wheelchair at age 12, where he has remained for the past 11 years. But there is so much more he wants to do, like make music and find a cure for the disease that took his brother.
    Courtesy Darius Weems
  • Darius Weems SS

    Darius's brother Mario, who also suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, died at age 19. For patients with DMD, the legs and arms are seized, and eventually, so are the muscles that surround the heart. In the U.S., the majority of people afflicted with this disease die by age 25.
    Courtesy Darius Weems
  • Darius Weems SS

    Darius and Logan Smalley in Pensacola, Fla. At age 15, Darius and his friends traveled across the United States in a van built to accommodate his wheelchair. It was Logan's idea. He had been a counselor at a camp and met Darius' brother, Mario. When Mario was dying he asked Logan to keep an eye on Darius, who promised he would.
    Courtesy "Darius Goes West"
  • Darius Weems SS

    Darius and his friends at the Grand Canyon. The California trip began as a bit of a lark. MTV's "Pimp My Ride" was popular, so Logan joked that if they could get Darius to California, the show might "pimp" his wheelchair. Their trip became the powerful documentary, "Darius Goes West," an extraordinary tale of friendship and gratitude.
    Courtesy "Darius Goes West"
  • Darius Weems SS

    Darius in Las Vegas. "He'll motivate me to do something that I never thought I would do," Darius said of Logan Smalley. "Him actually taking on the goal of watching over me when my brother passed away, so he definitely gave me a lot of hope and being that brother when I lost my brother."
    Courtesy "Darius Goes West"
  • Darius Weems SS

    Darius and his friends made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean, a place he had never seen before. They lifted him into the water and Darius stood for the first time in four years. "I think that Darius and I have a mutual respect for each other," Smalley said. "It's just like some strange mixture of brotherhood, parenthood, old married couple, best friends, like our relationship runs the gambit."
    Courtesy "Darius Goes West"
  • Darius Weems SS

    At age 22, Darius became a patient at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, where he is taking part in a clinical trial for DMD sufferers. In addition to raising money for research, he also wants to make music. Earlier this year, he signed a record deal with New South Entertainment. When he found out his song, "Thank You for 23," was #35 on iTunes, he was so happy he started crying.
    Courtesy Darius Weems
  • Darius Weems SS

    Darius surrounded by fans at Jamesville Dewitt Middle School in Syracuse, N.Y. This summer, he completed his 30-day "Believe" tour, where he traveled across 11 states to share his music, the "Darius Goes West" documentary, and talk to fans about his disease.
    Courtesy Dylan Wilson
  • Darius Weems SS

    "Nightline" anchor Cynthia McFadden talks to Darius in South China, Maine, during his tour. "Just because I have a fatal disease doesn't mean any doctor can put any amount of time on my life," he said.
    ABC News
  • Darius Weems SS

    "Nightline" also caught up with Darius in Maine, where he was greeted by dozens of screaming fans. So far, Darius has raised more than $2 million for DMD research. "As long as I'm here and being able to motivate people and being strong for them, hey, I'm living my life to the fullest," he said.
    Courtesy Dylan Wilson
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