Ryan Schmidt wanted to be a basketball player, but by age 7, Duchenne muscular dystrophy confined him to a wheelchair.
Instead, Ryan, who goes by the name “Wheelz,” turned to music to cope with his genetic disorder and to raise awareness.
"There's nothing wrong with me, I'm just in a wheelchair,” Ryan said. “I'm like any other kind of person."
He knows the odds are against him.
"The doctors say that by age 20, you won't be alive anymore," Ryan said.
"Duchenne muscular dystrophy is different from regular muscular dystrophy because it is fatal. It's more aggressive," said Grace Sharington, who works with Ryan’s namesake foundation.
The disease affects one out of every 3,600 boys. Ryan is using his music to battle the disease.
His family founded Inspiration on Wheelz to support other Duchenne victims and help find a cure with his annual Ryan's Day event.
"We're in dire need of a cure. We want Ryan around," Sharington said.
"I actually can't wait to get up every day because maybe that's the day they'll find the cure,” said Leslie Schmidt, Ryan’s mom. “And enjoy my son all I can while he's here,"
"You see slowly, he used to be able to hug. Now he's able to smile -- and he's able to rap," Sharington said.
"I want to put a smile on people's faces,” Ryan said. “Let them know you can do anything you put your mind to."
At 22, he knows time is running short. But he's not giving up.
"Live life to the fullest and have fun, enjoy life,” Ryan said. “Because not many people get to see it."
Ryan 'Wheelz' Schmidt has a new single called "Raindrops."
All the sales of the song go to the non-profit Inspiration on Wheelz. Check it out on his website wheelzband.com.