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About John Kerr Foundation

John Kerr

John was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the age of eighteen months he was diagnosed with the neuromuscular disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy. This is a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy that attacks the motor neurons in the spinal cord and directly affects the functionality of his muscles. Never able to sit up independently or crawl, John received his first electric wheelchair on his fifth birthday. This newfound independence buoyed John into a life that was no different than that of his peers. At the age of ten, John battled his first bout of pneumonia and doctors gave him six months to live. This became the first of many struggles with respiratory illnesses and numerous dire prognoses. However, with a strong sense of faith and family support, John overcame these challenges and forged a well-rounded life for himself.

Struggling with illnesses throughout his childhood, including spending an average of six months out of the year in the hospital, John finally flourished socially in his high school years. As a freshman, John joined the school newspaper as a sports reporter and soon thereafter, became the public address announcer for the boys’ varsity basketball team. In addition, John also served as the PA announcer for his high school baseball and track teams. His passion for writing continued to grow as John became sports editor of the school newspaper and yearbook. This devotion to his high school sports earned John a letterman’s jacket, and in his sophomore year, he was featured on ESPN’s Scholastic Sports America. This involvement instilled a new sense of self-worth and John began to realize what his life could potentially hold.

After finishing high school, John left the Bay Area and moved to Sacramento to study at Sacramento State University. His involvement in sports continued as John held an internship for two years in the Sports Information Department at CSUS and spent some time as an employee of the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs and the Sacramento River Rats. In addition, John was fully immersed in all aspects of college life, joining the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and serving on numerous campus committees, all while maintaining a very full social life. Upon completion of his BA in Communication Studies (Public Relations), John entered the workforce, accepting a job with a nonprofit blood supply organization. John is now working on a federally funded grant project striving to raise the employment level of Californians with disabilities.

John has never let his disease slow him down. John has been able to experience a number of adventures, including snorkeling twice in Hawaii, swimming with dolphins, and his biggest thrill – taking a Class III whitewater rafting trip down the American River. As time goes by and new physical challenges arise, John’s passion for life and his desire to live it grow exceptionally stronger. A few years ago, John began thinking of ways in which he may be able to help others with his same condition and give something back to society. John’s vision has now come to fruition with the formation of The John Kerr Foundation.

John’s Foundation vision is to enhance the lives of others living with Muscular Dystrophy through the awarding of educational scholarships, the promotion of adventure-related activities, and most importantly, facilitation of an annual Summer Retreat which provides opportunity for young adults with MD to fully enjoy the outdoors and gain life-enhancing skills.