Friday, December 2, 2016

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!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My experience of looking for a job with a physical disability

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 many people with disabilities work part-time & full-time jobs and are perfectly capable of providing for themselves and their families. In my situation when it came to pursuing employment opportunities with Muscular Dystrophy it turned out to be more difficult than I originally thought. 

Taking advantage of programs offered to help me find a job

Thankfully I was able to take advantage of a employment supports program offered though the Ontario Disability Supports Program. This program helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to looking for a suitable form of employment. After taking part in three weeks of testing I was eventually set up with a local employment service provider who would then help me to find a job. The first thing they focused on was writing up a professional looking resume. Then they moved on to teaching me how to search for a job online. Our focus was on applying for call centre jobs, a form of employment that many with physical disabilities find that best suits their needs. Long story short after a year and a half of applying for jobs with a 0% success rate, we eventually reached out to a local temping agency for help. They were able to set me up with a short term contract position at a local call centre which was great. In no time I found myself arriving for my first day of training, unfortunately it didn't go so smoothly. As when I arrived I accidentally slammed my thumb in the front door of the call centre. After this I found myself in so much pain that I almost just turned around and went home, but I didn't want to get this far to just give up. So I decided to push through the pain and take part in training all while my thumb started to bruise up and turn black & blue. Thinking back I am glad I pushed through as this work experience gave me something to add to my resume. 

The up & downs of looking for a job with a physical disability 

After this contract ended I quickly applied for a job with the same employer at one of there other locations. At this point I didn't get hired and was a little frustrating. Eventually another position became available which I applied for. This time I was called in for an interview but this time ended up failing their mandatory typing test. Another set back but at this point I went out and bought a typing program for my computer and focused on improving my speed an skills. So a few months later I applied yet again for the same position and aced their typing test. The next thing I know I am starting training in a few weeks. This is the point when I found myself with a full-time job and the start of my new career. This was an exciting time, thankfully training turned out to be a lot of fun and after four weeks found myself working a full-time job at a local call centre. Sure there were days filled with challenging moments especially when it came to dealing with irate customers but I didn't let it get to me. I was simply happy having a job which meant things were going great for me financially. 

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. Sadly this didn't last long as in my second year of employment found myself suffering from a work related injury. I went to see my doctor and was diagnosed with Tendinitis. A condition that affects the tendons and muscles that help move the shoulder joint. A condition which left me in excruciating pain. Long story short this work-related injury was blamed on the fact that I have Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. So I for that reason I was cut off from receiving workers compensation from the WSIB. It wasn't long after this I found myself re-applying and back to receive income support from the Ontario Disability Supports Program. Sure 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 did not keep 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. As I know now what it feels like to be able to make a living and to provide for myself and family.  

The reality for some looking for a job with a physical disability

Unfortunately, many people with disabilities still do face discrimination by some employers but I encourage everyone to never give up. After all it took me a year and a half and multiple tries before I being hired. Thankfully we now live in a time when employers attitudes towards workers with disabilities are changing. This means the possibilities of you finding a job are getting better every day. 

A message for those unable to work due to physical disability 

Now if you are unable to work and are currently receiving income support for having a disability that is nothing to be ashamed of. After all depending on the severity of some physical disabilities not everyone is able to work.

In my situation I am truly thankful for the income support the Ontario Disability Supports Program provides. My only hope is that one day the rates of income support we receive match the true cost of living. I also hope that one day we see major changes when it comes to the treatment of spousal income as it shouldn't be used to reduce my income support. I remain hopeful that some day soon this does change. 

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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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Thursday, October 20, 2016

We must keep fighting, no matter what comes our way!

They say life wasn't meant to be easy, after all at times in life it might feel like we go from one challenge to another. But we all know that this is just a part of life and many of us have no choice but to keep fighting through all the challenges of life, hoping somehow it will make us stronger. I have had to fight through many things in my life, some which are listed below to help show you that if I can make it through, that you can to.

#1 Being diagnosed with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy:

Well like every story, it’s always best to start at the beginning, when my life was changed forever in the mid 80’s when I was just 10 years old and diagnosed with Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. The years before my diagnosis my parents had me join the local soccer team, and it didn’t take long for them to notice that I was having some issues . . To continue reading please (Click Here)

Throughout my childhood I was picked on and teased, as other children would single me out, pushing me around and calling me names. This would happen during recess and sometimes when walking home from school. Maybe this was a result of not being able to participate in gym class at school as during most physical activities I would be sitting on the sidelines. At times they would
 make fun of the way I walked which resulted in me becoming . . To continue reading please (Click Here)

When it comes to the loss of a loved one or a child there is nothing in life can prepare you for such a loss. Sadly I have faced this kind of a loss twice; the first happened in January of 2009 when my wife and I were a few weeks from welcoming our new baby girl into the world when we lost her to stillbirth. It is a life altering experience 
when you find yourself surrounded by nurses who are desperately trying to find your babies heartbeat . . To continue reading please (Click Here)

As you can see life can throw a few challenges our way. But even if things never end up going our way we must keep fighting. That's just a part of life. But I sure do hope that something changes very soon!

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