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Save the Date: 10th Annual Darius Goes West Weekend!

May 01, 2014

Can you believe we’ll be celebrating our 10th Annual Darius Goes West Weekend in July? It seems like just yesterday when hundreds of Athenians gathered at the Courthouse and (then) Mayor Heidi Davison presented us all with keys to the city and officially declared it “Darius Goes West Day” before sending us on our way out West.

So much has happened since that memorable day. Here are some highlights:

    * Our documentary, Darius Goes West, won an unprecedented 28 film festival awards.

    * Darius graduated from high school (the first in his family to do so), and we spent an entire year on the road hosting screenings (including one at Carnegie Hall) and visiting middle/high schools and colleges from coast to coast. In the process, we raised over $2 million for DMD research.

    * Darius and Logan appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she surprised them (plus the entire crew) with a cruise to the Caribbean. They were also featured on The CBS Early Show, The Today Show, ABC Nightine, CNN (four times) and a myriad of other local and regional TV shows.

    * Darius and Logan were selected as TED Fellows and tapped to speak on the main stage at the TED Conference in Long Beach, CA.

    * We launched a DGW “Know About It” education program, providing lesson plans to go with the film. And with financial support from Rick and Leila Ginder, students from Madison, GA, Savannah, GA and Syracuse, NY hand wrote letters to every middle/high school in the country (that’s 50,000 letters!), and included a DVD in each package. We continue to offer free DVDs of Darius Goes West to educators via our website.

    * Darius won a prestigious “Do Something” Award, which landed his photo and story on the back of 40 million Doritos bags.

    * When Darius turned 20, he got an amazing gift from MTV. Not only did an MTV rep go on CNN to apologize for not customizing Darius’s wheelchair, but MTV2 and mtvU decided to show Darius Goes West. MTV also made a $10,000 donation to Charley’s Fund in Darius’s honor.

    * Long-time DGW supporters Margo and Jeff Barbakow set up a scholarship in Darius’s name at Yale University.

    * Big Daddy Weems signed a contract with New South Records to put out his first rap album. One of his singles, Thank You For 23, written when he celebrated his 23rd birthday, soared to the top of the iTunes chart. His first album, My Life In This Chair,  was released last year.

    * On Thanksgiving night 2012, ABC Nightline devoted its entire show to Darius/Darius Goes West—only the second time in history that the show has focused on just one subject.

    * Darius participated in a year-long trial at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD, for older boys with DMD who have heart problems.

    * Darius continues to travel when he can and connects with students via Skype several times each month. He also keeps busy responding to comments from his fans worldwide via email, Facebook and Twitter.

      As you can see, we have a LOT to celebrate this year—most importantly, the life of Darius Weems and the huge impact he’s had on raising awareness of his disease, as well as funds for research.

      We’re planning a big weekend July 24 - 27 in Athens, GA, and we hope you’ll join the fun. Save the date for now, and stay tuned for more details.

      The twelve of us made a movie, but y’all made Darius Goes West a movement, and we can’t thank you enough for your support.

      Know about it!

      The DGW Crew

      WE ARE SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND SPONSORS FOR OUR 10TH ANNUAL DARIUS GOES WEST WEEKEND. If you (or someone you know) is interested in supporting this popular four-day event, please contact DGW Headquarters Manager Barbara Smalley at or 706-255-9301. Individuals can also make a tax-deductible donation here to help support our 10th anniversary by clicking here.


      41 Responses to “Save the Date: 10th Annual Darius Goes West Weekend!”

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        Yea!!!! Can’t wait, what a wonderful DECADE!! We’ll be there - Congratulations and thank you for letting us be a part of this!

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        Can’t wait for July to get here and see everyone!!

      3. On June 6th, 2014, daniel said:

        game on. seems like just yesterday… Thanks for the millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of miles everyone has helped us with. I look forward to seeing old and new faces this year!

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