At the age of six, Dusty Brandom was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease that affects 1 in every 3,500 boys born. While life expectancy varies in each case, those with the disease rarely live past their 20s.
Dusty’s family realized that their happy and playful child would suffer a long, progressively weakening condition until his heart and breathing muscles ceased to function. As a family, they united to learn as much as they could about the disease and to enjoy every moment in life, which eventually led Dusty to ask the question “how come there are no old people with Duchenne?” This inspired Dusty’s mother, Catherine Jayasuriya, to form Coalition Duchenne in order to spread global awareness and raise funding for research and a cure. With the support of other affected families, they decide to scale Mt. Kinabalu, a sacred 13,455-foot high mountain, on the Malaysian island of Borneo. This is their journey.
He was also featured as an actor in many money-making films after signing his first film deal in 1956. His screen debut was in Paramount's Civil War drama Love Me Tender (1956) (originally titled The Reno Brothers ), with a #1 single hit song ballad. Jailhouse Rock (1957) is generally acknowledged as his most famous and popular film, but he also appeared in Loving You (1957) (noted for his first screen kiss) and in director Michael Curtiz' King Creole (1958) as a New Orleans teen rebel (acclaimed as one of his best acting roles) before the decade ended. His induction into the Army in 1958 was a well-publicized event. After his Army stint, he also starred in . Blues (1960) , in Don Siegel's western Flaming Star (1960) (with only two songs) as a half-breed youth, in the southern melodrama Wild in the Country (1961) , and in other formulaic 60's films (., Blue Hawaii (1961) , Kid Galahad (1962) , and his biggest box-office hit Viva Las Vegas (1964) ). By the 70s, his film roles had deteriorated, and although he returned to stage performances and revived his singing career, he was physically on the decline until his death in August, 1977 of heart disease and drug abuse.