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A friendship defying the odds: how two different people find inspiration in each other

Two friends inspire each other, a bond making them stronger individuals (KSNV)

Think back to your childhood best friend. Do you still keep in touch? What made that bond so special?

This friendship will warm your heart: two very different people, finding inspiration in each other.

Their relationship is so strong, one 20-year-old is now the other's caretaker.

Any friendship can have its ups and downs.

When you ask Darius Martin and Colton Schrum-Erdman about theirs, the 20-year-olds will tell you they're like family.

Their bond started in sixth grade. They were in the same class and hit it off from the beginning. They were two introverted boys who found each other.

"I didn't have a lot of friends," Martin said.

"A lot of kids will shy away and not want to have anything to do with me," Schrum-Erdman said. "He seemed like he understood off-the-bat the condition I'm in, so he's always been very understanding."

Schrum-Erdman was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at four years old. It put him in a wheelchair when he was nine.

"I don't really think about it too much," Schrum-Erdman said. "I'm glad I have a best friend to help me cope with it."

"I just saw him as a normal kid, really. I honestly didn't really see the wheelchair," Martin said.

They became inseparable. Martin would stay at Schrum-Erdman's place all the time, helping him get into bed and get up in the morning. They would even go on adventures together.

Now, Martin is his caregiver three days a week.

Schrum-Erdman even presented the MDA Volunteer of the Year award to his friend in 2013.

It's a friendship one former teacher found rare to have -- Martin's dedication to stay by Schrum-Erdman's side.

"I thought it was time somebody recognized him for his heroism and his friendship, most. The best friend he could possibly have and he actually moved in with them so he could help Colton morning and night," said Peggy Thompson.

However, Martin says it's Schrum-Erdman who inspires him, seeing his best friend make peace with death.

"If he can cope with that, then I can cope with pretty much anything that's going on with me," Martin said. "I look at him and he's kinda like my idol because he's so positive and he's smiling all the time and he's just happy all the time."

Positive and smiling, all while beating the odds.

"The doctors said he's going to die at the age of 15. Well, he made it past 15. Well, 18, he made it past 18. Now he's 20. Let's hope he can get to 75, 85, the normal life span of a male," Martin said. "I said, I hope I go before you because if you go, I'm going to be heartbroken. He's like my brother. He's my only friend."

They are two friends who inspire each other, a bond that makes them stronger individuals.

"No matter what situation you have, as long as you have a friend who can help you cope with whatever you're going through, you'll be all right," Schrum-Erdman said.


If you know someone deserving of being a News 3 Local Hero, nominate them on News 3's Facebook page or the News 3 website.

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