Healthy State of Mind
Chairman and Founding Chair
Demitrius went through the Youth U.S. National Teams, up until age 17, when he was offered an opportunity that would change his life.
Sporting Clube de Portugal, offered Demitrius a year long training stint with their Youth Academy until he turned 18 years old, in which would be at an age old enough to sign a senior contract.
Four months before his 18th birthday, Demitrius woke up one morning in his Academy dorm room wondering why he had blurry vision in his right eye. He tried training, but was unable to judge the speed and height of the ball on the soccer field and was forced to seek medical attention.
His symptoms puzzled Portuguese Doctors, and Demitrius was told that he may go blind. He flew home to seek out additional medical attention back in California and was able to get down to the root of the issue. Doctors diagnosed Demitrius with optic neuritis, a swelling of the optic nerve, causing blurry vision in his affected eye.
It would take him eight months to recover, and his pending contract with the professional academy would become terminated.
He was then offered a scholarship to play soccer at University of California, Berkeley. He would go on to earn two Conference championships and a National Title run to the Elite 8 during his fourth and final year. Right before that final season, Demitrius had woken up with some numbness in his left foot during Spring season training. After a few doctor visits, chiropractic sessions, and an MRI, Demitrius would be diagnosed with the chronic neurological disease, Relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis, right before his 21st birthday.
Devastated he had no idea of his future career as an athlete. But he chose to fight the fight. He began medical therapy called Copaxone, glatirimir acetate, taking a daily subcutaneous (in the skin) injection.
Demitrius went on after college to be drafted to Toronto FC as their first pick of the draft, 26th overall.
He represented the Philippines National Team, a life long dream he had wanted to do for his grandfather.
Demitrius became the first player in Major League Soccer with Multiple Sclerosis, and used this diagnosis as a platform to try and spread awareness to the disease. He wanted people to know that overcoming this diagnosis, is within our grasp and that we control the destiny that we truly believe in.
As a nationwide Multiple Sclerosis advocate, Demitrius saw there was so much great information about new drug therapy treatments being researched, always in the pipeline. But he was overlooking the fact that there were lifestyle changes he could make that day!
That’s what sparked Demitrius’ idea for We Heart Health. He wanted to create a resource and a community where people with Multiple Sclerosis could find information about how to live healthier in their life through Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness.
There isn’t much out there like this and MS patients, caregivers, and family members and friends need this information.
In 2014 We Heart Health received it’s 501c3 status and the foundation was slowly put into place. Its been over a year now and Demitrius is excited to launch the Non-Profit organization officially on May 30. 2015, his 26th birthday.
Demitrius travels the nation as a Multiple Sclerosis Advocate and health ambassador, spreading awareness to healthier living.