Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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 and I was diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 10, 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 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.

Laps for Muscular Dystrophy

Laps 4 MD Making a difference - One lap at a time.
 Along with sharing my story I also aim to make a difference in my community. The goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of others affected by Muscular Dystrophy. As a long time Motorsports fan in 2014 I founded Laps 4 MD - a network of professional racers who donate $1 from every lap they lead in support of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. I am truly thankful for everyone supporting the cause helping to make a difference in the lives of those affected by Muscular Dystrophy. To learn more please (Click Here)

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ok, so you think you are a Tough Guy!

As a teen growing up all to often as a result of living with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy and not being able to keep up physically I was bullied pretty badly. Sure nothing compared to what today's kid's have to go through but it made life very difficult at time's especially in high school. I truly despised being bullied so after summer break when I returned for my second year of high school I returned with a shaved head and a new attitude. I finally reached a point when I was sick and tired of people messing with me, at this time is when I myself started acting like a tough guy simply to survive. I only did this in an effort to ensure that people would just start leaving me alone.  

Thankfully once I graduated from high school I left the tough guy attitude behind. I simply didn't need to portray that image anymore. But still these days I run into other men who walk around like they are some type of tough guy. These are the types who like to stare other men down. I guess what they are doing is playing a mental game of chicken in a effort to see if you back down an look away. As if they enjoy trying to intimidate other men. Maybe this makes them feel like a tough guy. These are the types who also seek out confrontation maybe to prove to them selves that they are really a man. Living with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy I find these types of guys to be pathetic. I actually go out of my way now to avoid these guys, in a effort to not give them the pleasure of feeling like they can intimidate me by staring me down. Especially when it might come from someone who knows I have a physical disability and lack the ability to defend myself. Does it really make them a tough guy if they want to intimidate someone like me? I think it shows that they are really pretty weak. It also makes no sense to me as to why someone feels the need to always try and be a tough guy. This maybe due to the fact that growing up with a disability I learned pretty quickly that being a man has nothing to do with your muscles or strength. Instead what makes a tough guy is one willing to step up to defend the weak and make a difference in the lives of others. Sure in some sports men do have to play the intimidation game but in most situations in life there's really no use for it - unless you are a police officer or a UFC fighter. At this point in life I am just sick of always having to deal with other men who like to play the role of the tough guy, at times I do wish I could be the one to give them a good attitude adjustment but that would just end up with me in the hospital. My only hope is that over time these types eventually grow up so I don't have to deal with them anymore.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Becker's Story has been viewed over 200,000 times!

Over the last 7 years of sharing my story I have made many good friends and have even had the privilege of meeting others also affected by Becker's and other forms of Muscular Dystrophy. Being able to meet other's has helped to prove to me that we are all in this together. That is why I want to thank everyone who supports the My Becker's Story blog and my efforts to share my story. In the end, it’s all about raising awareness, not to bring the focus on myself but on all of us as a community.

So today I would like to thank everyone for their support of the My Becker's Story blog!

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Joys & Challenges the Christmas Season Brings

When it comes to the Holiday Season there are many joys that come along with celebrating Christmas with family & friends. As we enter the month of December the sounds of Christmas songs now play on many radio stations. As we all know this is the time of year most kids really look forward to, after all at Christmas the focus tends to be on the children. As a child for me Christmas was the most amazing season and yes the focus was on all the presents I was going to receive. Then as we grow up we imagine being parents and watching our own children experience the joys of this season. I am sure every parent out there enjoys seeing their children's faces on Christmas morning. I do hope that every parent out here knows how truly lucky you are. After all for some of us we could only dream of being so lucky. This is when we get into why for some this joyous season can also be a difficult time of the year. 

When it comes to growing up in life we quickly learn that things really never go as planned. In learned this back in 2009 when my wife and I were about to welcome our first baby girl into the world. We had just celebrated a great Christmas, then just a week later as we entered the new year found ourselves in the hospital surrounded by nurses desperately searching for our babies heartbeat. Next thing you know we are dealing with the devastating news that we had lost our baby girl, just a few weeks before the delivery date. That was the first of two still births as a year later we found ourselves in the same month in the exact same situation. These were two devastating blows two years in a row right after Christmas, so I am sure you can understand why for me and my wife this is such a difficult time of year. Even after six years what we faced brings about many tears as we have yet to have a child of our own. That is why I do hope that any parent reading this right now knows how lucky they are. Now over the last few years I have done my best to accept the challenges of life but this is a hard one to overcome. I really feel for my wife as I wish there was something I could do for her, as Christmas brings back a lot of memories of what we have both lost.

Still we do our best to enjoy this time of year, but trying to pretend everything is fine is getting a lot more difficult as the years go by. This year also feels a lot different as we simply lack any motivation to decorate or even put up a Christmas tree. In all honesty maybe I should even be sharing this as it might embarrass my wife. But I know there may be others out there who are facing the same difficulty in dealing with the holiday season, especially those who have faced a similar loss. My only motivation behind writing this blog post to show others facing the same challenges that they are not alone.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The steps it took for me to find my first full-time job

When it comes to living with the physical limitations a disability can bring some may believe this would take away one's ability to work. This is simply untrue as some depending on the severity of the disability can work part-time & even full-time jobs. When given the opportunity many are perfectly capable of providing for themselves and their families. Now it isn't always an easy task finding your first job, as having a disability can bring about some unique challenges. Today I aim to share with you a few of the ups & downs I faced when it came to looking for my first full-time job. You will soon find out that a little perseverance goes a long way and eventually hard work does pays off.

The Employment Supports Program: Step One

A real benefit to those with disabilities here in Ontario seeking a job is the Employment Supports Program. This is a voluntary program offered to those receiving income support from the Ontario Disability Supports Program. Taking advantage of this program offered to me helped me to identify my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to finding a suitable form of employment. Over a three week period I take part in aptitude testing which also helps you to discover a few of your natural talents. Many which can be a real benefit to those seeking employment. Once the testing was complete I was provided with my results and ended up with a few suggestions on what types of work I should pursue.  

Working with local Employment Service Provider: Step Two 

After my time ended taking part in the Employment Supports Program the next step for me was to choose a local Employment Service Provider, who would then take me through the next steps of looking for a job. Their main focus from the start was to help me put together a professional looking resume. The biggest issue though was my lack of work experience which left me with a bare bones resume. Next up they quickly moved on to teaching me how to search for a job online. Our focus right away was on applying for call centre jobs - one of the recommendations that came from my time in the Employment Supports Program. This is actually one form of employment that many with physical disabilities pursue. Unfortunately my journey finding work at a call centre took a lot longer than I had hoped. After a year of applying for call centre jobs with a 0% success rate, I was becoming more than just a little frustrated. Eventually we had to reach out to a local temping agency for help. Right away they were able to set me up with a short term contract position at a local call centre.

Day One: Training for my first job

 About a week later I found myself arriving for my first day of training, I wasn't even anxious about it as I was actually excited. Unfortunately when I arrived for training things didn't go as smoothly as I hoped. What happened when I first arrived is that I messed up when reaching for the front door. You see I went to grab the door after someone went in ahead of me, to my surprise it closed so quickly resulting in me accidentally slamming my thumb in the door. Next thing I know I found myself in so much pain that the thought crossed my mind for me to just call it a day and head home. But after getting this far and working so hard I couldn't just give up. I simply decided to push through all the pain and take part in training while my thumb started to bruise up turning black & blue. Thinking back I am glad I stuck with this great opportunity as the work experience I gained gave me something to finally add to my lack luster resume. 

When Perseverance & Determination comes into play  

After the contract position ended I was on a bit of a high, feeling confident that it would take me no time to find another job. Without any delay I started applying for other positions with the same employer at one of there other call-centre locations. It didn't take too long before I was called in for an interview. Unfortunately things didn't go as planned when I wasn't hired for the job. Though I was a little disappointed I didn't let this get me down. Thankfully about a month later another position became available with the same employer, this time at a location much closer to where I lived. So I applied for the position, again I was called in for an interview but this time ended up failing their mandatory typing test. So for the second time I didn't get the job. Yet another set back but I wasn't ready to just give up. So at this point I simply went out and bought a typing program for my computer to focus on improving my skills. So for the third time only a few months later I applied for the same position again. This time I aced their typing test resulting in me securing my very first full-time job. The next thing I know just a few weeks later I find myself starting training. Thankfully my training turned out to be a lot of fun. Unfortunately though the fun times spent in training just flew by. It took just four weeks before I found myself working a full-time job. Sure there were days filled with challenging moments especially when it came to dealing with irate customers, but to my surprise I handle this pretty well. I am proud to say that I never let the challenges get me down. I was simply happy to have a job which I fought very hard for. 

When life throws you a curve ball you were never expecting  

At this point I was truly benefiting from having this full-time job. I started feeling like a real success story, as it felt good no longer having to rely on income support from the Ontario Disability Supports Program. Best of all things were going very well for me financially. I was really enjoying my new life as I was truly benefiting financially. I felt like a contributing member of society. Unfortunately, this didn't last long as in my second year of employment I found myself suffering from a work-related injury. It started one day when I left work due to the pain I was feeling in both arms. The next day I went to see my doctor and after an ultrasound I was diagnosed with Tendinitis. A debilitating condition that affects the tendons and muscles that help move the shoulder joint. It was discovered that I suffered a repetitive strain injury. Which left me in excruciating pain. So for the next two years I had to be put on modified duties while seeing a physiotherapist twice a week. Eventually my work-related injury was blamed on the fact that I have Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. It was at that point I was cut off from receiving workers compensation from the WSIB, that also meant no more physiotherapy. So my condition only continued to worsen leaving me to make the tough decision of ending my call centre career. Eventually I found myself re-applying to receive income support the Ontario Disability Supports Program. Only five years after pursuing a career. I guess you can say things really didn't go as planned when it came to me working, but one thing I am proud of is that having a disability never kept me from pursuing a career. That is why even today after all I have been through I still encourage those with disabilities who can to pursue finding some form of suitable employment.

Sure at times you may face discrimination by some employers, but I encourage you to never give up. Thankfully we do live in a time when employers attitudes towards workers with disabilities are changing. That means the possibilities of you finding a job are getting better every day. Just remember a little perseverance and determination goes a long way.      

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