Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Muscular Dystrophy Perspectives: Q&A with Brad Miller

A few years ago I was invited by a fellow Muscular Dystrophy blogger Dan, who thought it would be a great idea to swap questions with another person with Becker Muscular Dystrophy. In an effort to help add some additional perspective and dive into some of the thoughts those of us with Muscular Dystrophy have. I thought it might be a great idea to revisit this posting since a few years have past and maybe some of my answers have changed. Below you will find my latest answers to a few questions Dan asked me related to what it's like living with Muscular Dystrophy.

1. When you look at someone in a wheelchair, what do you see or how does it make you feel?

When I now see someone in a wheelchair I see someone who simply lives life as best they can. Over the last few years I have had the privilege of meeting many people who use wheelchairs full-time and they seem just fine. Best of all many are not limited by the fact that they use one everyday. What I also see freedom, as I have learned that for those with walking limitations using a wheelchair allows them to avoid becoming fatigued. Best of all it also takes away all the worries and fears of suffering a fall, something those of us with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy get used to dealing with from a young age.

 So I also think of myself, as seeing some in a wheelchair reminds me that it may be something I will be in need of one day. What I really see change, a new way of life, what I see is my future. To be completely honest at times I do wonder how it might affect my life. I start to think of my limited income and wonder how I might afford a fully accessible home or vehicle. But I do have a plan for that - it's called playing the lottery.   

2. Pretend the universe split in two the moment you found out you had MD and there were now two of you living in parallel universes. The current you has muscular dystrophy and the other does not. What would the “you” that didn’t have MD be doing right now? Is there anything the real you has done/learned/experienced that your other “you” would never have?

If I didn’t have MD right now I would quite possibly be a very successful professional race car driver, something I believe I would have been able to peruse if I didn’t have Muscular Dystrophy. It's actually something to this day I still feel I was born to do. But life took me in a different direction when I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at age 10. Sure I may have been able to do many different things if I didn't have MD, but I know without it I might not be the same person I am today.

 I truly hope that I would have gone through the same experiences (except for being bullied) and learned all the same lessons even if I was never diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. After all not having MD wouldn't have changed the area I grew up in or my up bringing. I believe that no matter what I would have learned and experienced all the same things - the main lessons being caring for others and the importance of family and friends. 

 3. What’s a feeling or worry you have that you think you might never “get over” and why not?

These days I tend to worry about the day when I can no longer climb stairs and what effect it will have on my ability to visit with family and friends. In recent years stairs have really become my worst enemy since as they create all sorts of issues for me - especially when I am invited over to someone's home. I really hate the fact that my issue with stairs may start limiting my ability to socialize.

This is an issue that I worry about all the time and know I will never get over this issue especially if it keeps me from spending my time with friends and family. It's the main reason why I wish I lived in a fully accessible home that was all on one level. Right now this is just a dream but it would allow me to invite family and friends over, resulting in my issues with stairs being a thing of the past. So maybe my biggest fear is not being able to hang out with my family and friends.  

4. Do you have any other in-person (i.e. not online) friends with disabilities — MD or otherwise? If so, what have you learned from them?

I do have a people in my life who I know who also have disabilities. What I have learned from them is that it is good to try and enjoy your life to the fullest. To make the most of every opportunity and also that a great sense of humor goes a long way. Also that it is better to focus on the positive in life.

5. Pretend you could be a member of any TV family (e.g. The Goldbergs, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc) which would you want to be a member of and why?

I would love to be a member of The Goldbergs Family mainly due to the fact that is set in the eighties. Being able to watch a show that brings back memories of your childhood is a lot of fun. They seem like a fun family who knows how to have a good time. Plus life was so much simpler in the 80's if I could go back in time I would. I guess you can tell I really loved growing up in the 80's. That's why the Goldbergs are the TV family for me.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Wheelchair-accessible Ford Explorer by BraunAbility

The BraunAbility MXV Ford Explorer
Today BraunAbility introduced an all-new wheelchair-accessible vehicle based on 2016 Ford Explorer named "The BraunAbility MXV™" Within the mobility industry BraunAbility is often referred to as the world leader in mobility vehicles. With today's announcement they sure take a major step forward with the introduction of the first ever wheelchair-accessible SUV. As a individual with physical limitations I am very impressed with what they have done here. The Ford Explorer is the perfect choice as the look of the vehicle barely changes even with all the modification required to make it wheelchair-accessible. The ride highlight pretty much remains the same giving the Explorer the same rugged look we are all use to. The most impressive feature found on the BraunAbility MXV is the patented sliding-door with removable driver and passenger seats, and a powered, lighted in-floor ramp. The side entry ramp also goes a long way in insuring the safety of vehicle occupants. They also claim that the interior space of the vehicle is maximized to create ample room for wheelchair navigation and comfort. With the BraunAbility MXV™ being the company’s first-ever volume production SUV offering it is sure to be a major success within the mobility community. Best of all wheelchair users will also be able to drive the vehicle from a wheelchair, or ride as a passenger. After all many wheelchair users still have the ability to drive, so now it seems like the BraunAbility MXV™ is the perfect choice. 

Key Feature Include:

54-inch door height
28-inch ramp width
Sliding shifter for increased space
Space-saving front seat base design
Integrated key fob that operates both door and ramp
Transfer seat capable

The BraunAbility MXV with its patented sliding door
On behalf of all of us with Mobility issue's and those who require the use of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, I have to thank  BraunAbility and the Ford Motor Company for bringing to market the first-ever volume production wheelchair-accessible SUV.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Welcome to the My Becker's Story blog!

Welcome to the My Becker's Story blog!

Join me as I share my Becker Muscular Dystrophy Story.

My name is Brad Miller I am a freelance journalist living with Becker Muscular Dystrophy, a condition which limits my ability to walk and gets progressively worse over time. I created the My Becker's Story blog in 2010 to share my story and to help raise awareness about Muscular Dystrophy. Along with sharing my story I also raise awareness about accessibility and the issues people with disabilities face. When it comes to the My Becker's Story blog even though the focus is on Becker's Muscular Dystrophy I also want to encourage those affected by other conditions even other forms of Muscular Dystrophy to join in as well. I truly believe when we join "Together" we can make a difference in our communities and raise even more awareness about Muscular Dystrophy and the issues people with disabilities face. The main focus behind the My Becker’s Story blog is to tell my story in hopes that it will somehow help those living with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy, as well as their families and friends.

What people are saying about the My Becker's Story blog:

"Hi there, I also suffer from BMD. Just read the blog and the first half is like reading my personal history!!"

"I ran across your spot today, you sure have a lot on here I will have to check in a lot. I also have BMD and everything you say resonates deeply."

"I am also in my mid-30's with Becker's from the UK so thought i'd join and say hello! Struggling with all the same things as mentioned in the blog!"

"I am new to this group. Just want to say it is nice to meet people who understand."

 "I love your blog and it is nice to know there are others out there facing the same challenges as I do each and every day."

If you would like to read my personal story about growing up with Becker Muscular Dystrophy please click on the image below.

When it comes to living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy I intend to take what I have been through in my life and some how use it to help those going through a similar situation. When it comes down to it the main idea behind My Becker’s Story is to help those like me who are living with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy, by creating a place for us to connect. I truly believe that we are in this "Together". And I believe that with every one’s help that together we can help raise awareness about Muscular Dystrophy around the world.

The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

Team Brad at the 2013 Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

 Along with sharing my story I also aim to make a difference in my community. Since 2010 my friends and family have joined "Team Brad" in support of my efforts to raise funds that benefit people like me who are living with Muscular Dystrophy. The Durham Region Walk supports Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s mission to enhance the lives of those affected by neuromuscular disorders. To learn more please (Click Here)

Thank you for visiting the My Becker's Story blog!

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Still finding ways to enjoy life through all the challenges

Brad founded Laps 4 MD as a way to be involved with Motorsports and make a difference
When it comes to living with any type of disability at times it can be challenging finding activities that are fun that you can participate in. It was always my dream to become a professional race car driver, but from the start I knew it was simply too physically demanding of a sport to be involved in. Did this get me down? No it didn't. You see for many of us when we face challenges it simply forces us to become creative. After all simply having a disability does not take away our ability to enjoy life or have a good time. Thankfully some of us are able to find other ways to be involved in the things we love. In my situation I took my love for Motorsports and founded Laps for Muscular Dystrophy. As you can see even though I couldn't become a professional race driver I found another way to be involved. Unfortunately at time some people make the mistake of believing that once they’ve been diagnosed with a condition of some form of disability that there ability to have fun is somehow diminished. But this is not true, now sure there might be things we are unable to participate in but there are still many other ways for us to enjoy life.

It may surprise some but many people with physical limitation's still participate in sports - just in a different way. It's like those who love ice sports can play Sled Hockey which was designed to allow people with disabilities to play ice hockey. A sport that is still pretty intense and fun for those who can participate. Boccia is another sport that those with cerebral palsy or related conditions involving a wheelchairs can participate in. Surprisingly there is a long list of sports people with disabilities can still participate in. But if your not into sports simple activities that are fun aren't that hard to find, even if it's just a small thing. One thing I have found that allows me to join in with my friends and have a good time is playing cards. The greatest thing about the game is that doesn’t really involve much physical activity. Now the only area I have ever run into problems is when it comes to shuffling cards, but that's nothing an automatic card shuffler can't fix. Thankfully my friends have no problem shuffling the cards for me. But even in times when it comes to activities that don't involve our friends there are still other things we can do. In my spare time I like listening to music which helps me to relax relieving most of the stress that comes my way. Right now I am listening to an artist by the name of Json who has a song by the name of "It's Alright" which helps me through the more stressful days. 

One thing I also really enjoy doing is going to the movies even with the challenges of climbing a few steps seeing the latest film can be a great experience. Unfortunately I seem to have really bad luck when picking a seat as I usually end up with someone sitting behind me spending the entire movie talking or even worse kicking the back of my seat. But it still a fun experience plus if you go on the right day it’s a pretty cheap form of entertainment. I just wish more theaters were designed a bit better as even climb a few steps to my seat can be quite challenging. The one's I feel bad for are those in wheelchairs who in some theaters are forced to sit at the bottom, which usually results in neck pain from having to look up the whole time. I have sat there before and it's not a fun experience. Thankfully one local theater has an elevator that allows me to sit in the top row, this is at my local Landmark Cinema's which has four large size theaters that were designed properly to handle the needs of those with disabilities. What I am really looking forward to seeing very soon is the new James Bond movie as I am sure it will be action packed. You see in in life I always do my best to focus on the positives, even if there are things I am unable to do or participate in I do my best to not let it get me down. 

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you it to always have something to look forward to. Whether it's a simple as the latest movie to come out or just a weekend hanging out with friends these are things to look forward to. If there are things you love in life that you are unable to participate in due to the physical demands look at other ways you can be involved. If you like soccer or any other form of sport look into becoming a coach or start a blog and write about your love for the sport. As you can see there are still plenty of ways for all of us to enjoy life even though we may have a physical disability.

A great sense of humor goes a long way &
Why you should always pursue your dreams

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Great News! Laps4MD already a huge success in 2015!

Laps4MD supporter Joey McColm - Meet all our supporter at www.laps4md.blogspot.ca
Since day one the goal here at My Becker's Story has been to have a positive impact on the lives of others. It was in 2009 when I first started sharing my story of living with Muscular Dystrophy. Since then I was looking for a way that I could have an even bigger impact on people's lives. This is when the idea of combining my love for motorsports with raising awareness of Muscular Dystrophy resulted in the creation of Laps4MD. Where professional racers agree to donate $1 from every lap they lead in support of over 50,000 Canadians living with Muscular Dystrophy. The funds raised will make a difference and enable us to have a positive impact on the lives of those affected by Muscular Dystrophy.   

The start of Laps for Muscular Dystrophy

The very first driver to sign up to support Laps4MD was Shelby Mills a dirt track racer from Brighton, Ontario. Shortly after that Canada`s Best Racing Team joined in as well, followed by Matt Garwood & Ben Young. Now in 2015 we have 16 difference racers from various forms of Motorsport`s supporting our efforts. I am truly amazed at the success we have seen over the last 2 years. I honestly feel very fortunate to have the support of so many talented racers. Along with a few friend in the industry who have joined in support for our efforts by helping us get the word out about Laps4MD. To each and every one of you - Thank You!

Get your Laps4MD t-shirt today! 

Fans & supporters wearing their Laps4MD t-shirt! Get yours by (Clicking Here)
Earlier this year I design an exclusive Laps4MD t-shirt. Something special that fans & supporters can wear to show their support for our efforts. I truly hope you would help us by purchasing a shirt today. After all fund raised will be used to have a positive impact on the lives of Canadians affected by Muscular Dystrophy. To get yours please (Click Here)

To meet all our supporter please visit www.laps4md.blogspot.ca

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