On May 19, 2016 Stephen and Rachael Prendergast were blessed with the arrival of Cullen John Prendergast. As he grew, they noticed he appeared to be “behind” in his development compared to his peers. In 2017 Cullen was diagnosed as being Constitutionally Delayed. In early 2020 Cullen received another diagnosis of Global Development Delay (GDD). It was then a physiotherapist recognized there could be something more going on with Cullen on a deeper level. After seeing a Developmental Pediatrician at CHEO in Ottawa, she recommended they see a neurologist. Then came April 29, 2020. That’s the day Stephen and Rachael received the gut wrenching news that Cullen’s diagnosis was Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a muscle wasting neuromuscular disease. The family’s world was turned upside down as they processed a range of emotions imagining what life will be like for Cullen.
Unfortunately, this was not the end to their heartache. In early November 2020 Rachael found out that she was the carrier that causes Duchenne and that there was a 50-50 chance that Caden, Cullen’s 14 month old brother, would end up having Duchenne as well. Sadly, on November 30, 2020, they received the diagnosis that Caden also has Duchenne. Once again, their world was turned upside down.
Today, hope for all Duchenne families lies in research, Stephen and Rachael are learning that through Jesse’s Journey, a Canadian patient-advocacy organization dedicated 100 percent to Duchenne. Launched 25 years ago by the Davidson family in London, Ontario Jesse’s Journey has contributed more than $13.1M to research while also uniting families through education and advocacy forums to expand access for Canadian boys to potential trials and treatments.
Stephen and Rachael have launched Cullen’s Cause in honour of their fight on behalf of their young boy. Now, they have renamed it Cullen & Caden’s Cause to continue their battle and to advocate on behalf of Duchenne families everywhere until a cure is found. Please join them as they dedicate their lives, in partnership with Jesse’s Journey, to ensure that Cullen and Caden’s lives remain full of joy and possibility. Jesse Davidson died at 29 years of age of Duchenne, yet lived every day in the belief that if research isn’t funded, it won’t happen. Join Stephen and Rachael in supporting Duchenne research through Cullen & Caden’s Cause.