Alex Harold may need a wheelchair, but he has more forward momentum than many who do not.
The 22-year-old has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a progressive muscle-weakening disease. It’s an incurable condition that the third-year UTSC student says now makes it difficult for him to do even simple tasks such as scratching his head.
But that hasn’t stopped Harold. Each year, he, family and friends participate in a walk in Durham Region to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. And since 2008, they have generated $130,000 – more than any other Durham team.
“Being part of the walk reminds me that I’m not going through this alone,” he says. “Supporting research and seeing how new treatments are being developed is also encouraging.”
Harold is just as driven to achieve his other main goal: earning his accounting degree. Over his last four years at UTSC, he’s completed half his courses with support from the campus’s accessibility office. While his illness makes him careful about forecasting his future, he’s aiming to complete the program by 2018.
“When I first came onto campus for a tour, it felt like home, and it’s been that way ever since,” Harold says. “What keeps me getting up to go to school every morning is that I love learning new things, keeping my brain active and having something to focus on.”
By bringing artificial intelligence into chemistry, Prof. Aspuru-Guzik aims to vastly shrink the time it takes to develop new drugs – and almost everything else