In Search Of….Gman and Kelly Part 1

Two Trempealeau friends with one unbreakable bond

From the moment Garrett Williamson and Kelly Gardner met – it was clear they had something special. “I met him when I was the new kid in 5th grade,” says Kelly.  Garrett adds, “she was new at school and didn’t want to talk to anybody.  I went up to her and said ‘hey we should be friends.  I’ll show you around the school.'”

“And that smile,” recalls Kelly. “That’s all that I remember.  He made me feel welcome.”

Garrett’s mom Vicky Williamson remembers the first time she noticed the friendship on a school field trip she was chaperoning.  “Miss Kelly wanted to sit down by Garrett and the boys said “Hey this is the boys table.” And Garrett said, “Hey she’s my friend.”  So she sat down!”

They’ve been best friends ever since. Where one goes, usually so does the other.       Which is why it’s so hard to talk about where Garrett’s life is headed. “It’s not easy.  When we were younger, we’d go bowling and he could walk.”

Years before Kelly came into the picture, Garrett noticed he just couldn’t do things like everyone else. “I couldn’t keep up with some of the kids.”

Vicky noticed too. “He was about 5.  He went to the basketball program at the Y and he was just so far behind the other kids and I got concerned.”

Tests revealed Garrett had muscular dystrophy, but even more devastating it was a form called Duchenne. “Most of the boys only live until they’re 16, 17 years old.”   

Garrett just turned 22. He remembers the moment the reality of his disease set in. “In high school we had to research diseases and stuff and I looked up my stuff and was devastated when I read it.”

But whenever Garrett would start to get down, there was Kelly to pick him up. “I don’t make a big deal out of it, because it’s not a big deal.  It’s just Garrett.  He’s the same person. There’s nothing that will change who he is.”

“We just call her our other daughter. She’s around a lot. She has a room here. Does she really?  Yeah!”

Last year Kelly took up running and completed her first 5k, but in her success she couldn’t help but think about the friend that would never cross the finish line – at least not alone. “I sent Garrett a text and said, we’re going to do this!”

Where one goes, so does the other. But even they never imagined just how far this idea would take them