By Kathy Walsh
DENVER (CBS4) – A teenager with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy has inspired his Standley Lake High School bandmates. So much so, that they came together to have original music composed for him.
The piece called “Ataraxia” demonstrates Jack Knight’s power to rise above his challenges.
Jack is 17 years old and a junior at SLHS. He plays baritone in the concert band. He was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when he was two years old.
CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh asked him, “Does anything stop you?”
Jack’s answer was a simple, “No”.
Jack rides horses, skis, kayaks even runs 10K’s.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy put him in a wheelchair at age 14, but the progressive, incurable, lethal disorder never sidelined him.
“I struggle with some stuff, but I’m calm and deal with it, get through it,” he said.
Years ago, Jack and his dad rigged his wheelchair so he could join the marching band. His mother calls his bandmates “Jack’s Pack.”
“I love these kids. They’ve been so wonderful to him,” said an emotional Angela Knight.
It was the kids, including Adi Espinoza, who decided Jack needed a song.
“He gives me so much inspiration. If Jack can do it, then why can’t we,” said Espinoza, now a college freshman.
The students pursued it with “Chase the Music,” an organization that finds people battling a critical condition and matches them with a composer.
The nonprofit commissioned Dr. Garrett Hope. He composed “Ataraxia” which means tranquility.
“I created a kind of heroic theme to represent Jack,” he explained.
It starts with a large brass chorale.
Then it becomes unsettling like Jack’s unknown and scary future. By the end, there is a sense of calm.
“I don’t always like being the center of everything,” Jack said.
But “Ataraxia” is hope for all people with Duchenne to, like Jack, rise above their challenges and celebrate their courage.
The premiere of “Ataraxia” was Monday night at the school’s spring concert. Angela Knight said the kids played with such heart, there was barely a dry eye in the house.