August 22nd, 2012
07:12 AM ET

Overcoming barriers to bring mobility to the world

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. Ralph Braun was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 1947.

I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when I was just 6 years old.  Doctors told my parents I’d only live to be a young teenager. 

They encouraged my parents to leave me behind to be studied, to be institutionalized. Fortunately, my parents refused.

Years later, we discovered that the doctors had diagnosed me with the wrong type of MD. Eventually the disease took away my strength, just not as quickly as the doctors had originally predicted. 

By the time I was 13, I was relying on piggyback rides from my dad to get out of my wheelchair and into the back seat of my family’s car.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.