Our Members - Their Stories

MDANZ members share their personal stories of living with a Muscular Dystrophy condition. 

The sky’s the limit for Dylan

08 January 2021
Melanie Louden

Dylan Schneider explains how the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award is opening up new, and impressive, opportunities for him.

By Melanie Louden

Dylan got his space wish when Make-A-Wish New Zealand sent him and dad Mike to Cape Canaveral, in Florida, USA in December 2019

For Dylan Schneider taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award is a way to indulge his passion for science and space, while also trying new things.  

Since joining the programme in 2017, the 17-year-old Aucklander has completed air rifle shooting and robotics activities, as well as carrying out dog therapy at a rest home to earn his bronze award.  

He’s now working on his silver award and has sailing and rocketry tasks underway.  

The award is open to 14 to 24-year-olds who complete tasks such as physical, skills and voluntary activities, as well as take part in adventurous journeysto earn bronze, silver and gold medals.   

Dylan, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, says the programme has been a good way to get him out and aboutand experience new things.  

So far, the most challenging part of the programme has been carrying out the dog therapy at his nana’s rest home with the family’s two greyhounds, Ziggy and Jamie 

Dylan would take his dogs into the rest home and let the residents pat themIt was difficult to set up – sometimes the dogs didn’t want to do things,” Dylan says.  

However, he says, the residents did look forward to their visits.  

Dylan is enjoying the rocketry activities he is currently involved with as member of the New Zealand Rocketry Association – although it can be a bit nerve-wracking, he says 

“My dad and I go on the first Sunday of every month to the launch site at Taupiri. Lots of people launch their own rockets. Dad and I take our rockets and launch them. When they go up, depending on how powerful they are, you might not see them for awhile and you get a bit nervous.  

The teenager got his wish to explore space and science at a greater level when Make-A-Wish New Zealand sent him to Cape Canaveral, in Florida, USA in December 2019. 

He “had a great time” watching two rocket launches and, of course, visiting Disneyland and Universal Studios. 

Dylan says he has enjoyed all the new opportunities that have come his way through the Duke of Edinburgh programme and encourages anyone looking to try new things to get involved. 

About the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

* This story was originally published in the Summer 2020 edition of In Touch magazine. 

For more information please contact:      
Melanie Louden 
Communications and Marketing Advisor 
Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand 
027 509 8774 
[email protected]