Wednesday, January 6, 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)

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Monday, January 4, 2016

The day smoking saved my life, now I don't smoke but...

The other day smoking saved my life. Now I don't smoke but often run into people who do in the parking lot of my apartment building. Thankful this happened the other day when I went to take some garbage out. Unfortunately the parking lot was covered in ice after some snow fell the other day and I didn't notice this until it was too late. It was at this point I started to slide on the ice, then my legs tensed up to help me avoid a fall. It was in that moment I realized I was stuck with nowhere to go as I was surrounded by ice. Unfortunately the parking lot had not been salted yet a common issue I run into every winter season.

Thankful someone was smoking outside in the parking lot at the time and I was able to ask them to give me a helping hand. He asked what was wrong and this led to a quick opportunity to share a little bit with him about Muscular Dystrophy. At this point he offered to take the garbage bags I was holding to the bin for me, which really helped me out. I quickly asked if he could assist me in getting off the ice safely. He helped me and I quickly made my way back inside. This is the day that someone's smoking habit actually saved my life or at least saved me from a nasty fall.

At this point in my life I am so happy that I am no longer shy about asking other people for help when I need it. The lesson learned on this day is that during the winter season it is a great idea to always wear my yaktrax slip on ice walkers. As they are a true life saver and a must have for any one still walking with Muscular Dystrophy! 

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Monday, November 30, 2015

My Becker's Story attends a Toronto Marlies Hockey Game

Toronto Marlies - Ricoh Coliseum
Over the weekend my wife and I attended a hockey game featuring the Toronto Marlies against the Saint John's Ice Caps. I was a little reluctant to go as accessibility was a concern. As many sports arenas only have a limited number of accessible seats available. The drive in wasn't too bad and when we arrived an paid for parking we were lucky to get the last accessible parking space that was available. So this was a great start to our day as this space was located directly across from the entrance to the arena. Resulting in only a short walk, something I was very thankful for. We then made our way to ticket windows inside to claim our complementary tickets. They kindly sent us to the fan zone where we had to line up to be given our free tickets. 

Then we waited in line for a few minutes, when we reached the front of the line I asked the two gentlemen handing out tickets if we could have accessible seating. At first they responded like a deer caught in headlights, like this was a question they had never been asked before. I am sure this is a question they rarely hear. They informed that the tickets they were handing out were not accessible. At this point in time they suggested we go back to the ticket window to purchase accessible seating. This concerned me as with them being complementary tickets I still wanted the tickets for free. When we arrived at the ticket window for the second time the young lady we were speaking seemed as if she didn't know what to do. Thankfully after she spoke with a few of her colleagues she was able to issue us free accessible seating.        
Accessible Seating at the Toronto Marlies game Ricoh Coliseum
The staff at Ricoh Coliseum where the Toronto Marlies play were very nice when we went through with out tickets. It took sometime to find our seats but thankfully the staff led us to the elevators. I have to say the accessible seating area offers a great view of the rink. To be honest every seat at Ricoh Coliseum provides fans with the perfect view. The seats were very comfortable offering great support and plenty of leg room. The biggest issue I have with regular arena seating is the limited space you have. Being able to sit in accessible seating really makes the difference for me. As many of living with Muscular Dystrophy who are still walking know we need all the room we can get when it comes time for us to get up. My suggestion to anyone who may need accessible seating to any event is to call ahead to reserve your seats. This will help to ensure you don't run into any problems. In the end I am so thankful that the staff at Ricoh Coliseum were able to help us out. After all its a great place to spend your time especially if you are a hockey fan. Unfortunately on this day the Toronto Marlies lost as the Saint John's Ice Caps won the game 5 -1. It is truly too bad the home team lost but I am sure they'll be back to there winning ways very soon.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Inaccessibility A major barrier for those with disabilities

Even a few steps can be a major barrier to those with disabilities
Sadly even today inaccessibility is still a major problem in so many communities, especially mine. You see the other night my wife and I decided to ordered pizza, now to save a bit of money we decided we would pick it up ourselves. We do this as it helps us to avoid having to pay the extra cost for delivery. On many occasions I go out on my own to pick up our order with no problem. Well on this night I am so thankful that my wife came along for the ride, because when we arrived I was greeted with more than a few steps to climb. Something that I am finding much harder to do with out risking one of my legs giving out causing me to fall. I am sure it doesn't surprise you that inaccessibility is an issue that many of us deal with on a daily basis. Thankfully on this occasion my wife with me and was able to walk up those steps to pick up our order. Sometimes I really wish that pizza stores didn't charge for delivery, well at least for customers with disabilities. Now the best part of the story is the fact that the pizza we ordered was simply amazing. Since pizza is my favorite food we won't hesitate to order from Free Topping Pizza again. Now I did hear they are opening another location which I am sure will be fully accessible. I just hope that one day hopefully soon that they make their downtown location fully accessible. As it won't only benefit those of us still walking who face physical limitations but wheelchair users as well.

So today I would like to challenge every company who can - to go out of their way to make everyone of their business locations fully accessible. As this is a much better plan than sitting back and doing nothing. Plus in the end these businesses win as those of us with disabilities have money to spend as well.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tips for making life easier for people with disabilities

Yes even in this day and time those of us living with a wide range of disabilities can face many challenges. This is a simple fact that we all come to accept at one point in our lives. To be honest it is a fact that those who have no clue about the issues those with disabilities face, have no idea about the struggles or issues we may face in life. Unfortunately at times these are the people who unintentionally end up creating barriers for those of us living with disabilities. Thankfully we do live in a time when people are willing to learn more about how they can have a positive impact on the lives of others. Now when it comes to those of us living with disabilities, there are actually just a few simple things that you can do to help make our lives easier. So here is my list of things you can do to make life easier for those of us living with a disability.

Top 5 tips for making life easier for those with disabilities:

- If you are a business owner please don't let the fact that someone is in a wheelchair or that they may have a disability keep you from hiring them. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about workers with disabilities when in fact many are very talented people, who when giving the opportunity will prove themselves as an asset to your company. So the next time someone with a disability applies for a position within your business it would be a great idea to simply give them a chance. I am sure you won't regret it.     

- If you are a home owner during the winter months it is very important to take care of the property surrounding your home - especially those with sidewalks in front of their homes. As you know during the winter it doesn’t take long for snow and ice to build up. This can cause all sorts of problems for those with disabilities especially those of us who use wheelchairs, as ice and snow covered walkways & even driveways severely limit our ability to get around safely. You see when you clear away ice & snow from your property it really goes a long way in making the communities we live in more accessible.  

- When it comes to accessible parking please don’t make the mistake of assuming that these spaces are strictly reserved for seniors or those with visible disabilities. The facts are that disabilities come in ever shape and form and can affect those young and old. It also must be known that you can’t always tell who has a disability, in some cases it is very hard to tell. To me it is truly sad that some people have no clue about what a disability is or what it looks like. What people need to understand is that disabilities can affect anyone, even those who still have the ability to walk. So they next time you see someone parking in one of these spaces, who in your eyes doesn't appear to have a disability please just leave them alone.

- Continuing on the accessible parking theme this one's for permit holders. Please Do NOT under any circumstance EVER park over the crosshatching space between two accessible parking spaces. It is extremely ignorant to park between any two vehicles already occupying accessible parking spaces. This area was created to provide drivers and passengers with disabilities the room they need to exit their vehicles safely. When you park in this way you make it harder for those of us who need this extra space. This is why it is important to leave this area clear for those who need to open their doors all the way, it is especially important for those who use wheelchairs that need to put a ramp down. It also MUST be known that an accessible parking permit does NOT give you the right to park this way. If you park in this area your vehicle can still be ticketed and towed.

- Why not consider getting involved in supporting a local charity that benefits those in your community living with disabilities. There are many organizations that have been created to help those in need of wheelchairs and mobility aids. When you make even the smallest donation it can go a long way in improving the lives of people within your community. Each year I join the Durham Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in an effort to make a difference in the lives of other's affected by MD. The facts are it usually doesn’t take a lot of your time or energy to support local charities.  

The hope behind this very unique "How to" list is to encourage people who aren't already doing so to get involved in playing an important role in improving the lives of those of us living with physical disabilities.

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