Wednesday, November 25, 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 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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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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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Laps4MD Meet & Greet barbecue a huge success at CTMP!

Brad Miller, Joey McColm, Gary Klutt, Kevin Poitras, Melanie Mackie, Kyle Tasker & Ken
On August 29th Laps 4 MD held their first Meet & Greet BBQ for a few families affected by Muscular Dystrophy. Our special guests had the opportunity to meet Laps 4 MD supporters Joey McColm, Kevin Poitras, Gary Klutt & Kyle Tasker. Our meet & greet BBQ took place during the NASCAR Truck Series race weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Laps 4 MD drivers Joey McColm, Kevin Poitras & Gary Klutt were there participating in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. We have to thank everyone who helped make this day a huge success resulting in a truly special day for our guests. A special thank you the Canada's Best Racing Team for hosting our meet & greet BBQ. We would also like to thank NASCAR on TSN for providing each family with gift bags. Each family had a great time taking in their first race. It turned out to be a great day celebrating the success and growth of Laps 4 MD in 2015. Thank you to everyone involved especially those who helped us make this special day a reality.
Joey McColm, Gary Klutt, Brad Krulicki & Kevin Poitras
Founder of Laps 4 MD Brad Miller, with Laps 4 MD's special guest Melanie Mackie
Carey Miller of Laps 4 MD shooting video of days event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 

Laps 4 MD supporters Canada's Best Racing Team on track -  photo by Ryan Dupont
Laps 4 MD special guest Brad Krulicki and his wife having a great time
Laps for Muscular Dystrophy is a network of professional racers who aim to make a difference in the lives of families affected by Muscular Dystrophy. Laps 4 MD is currently supported by 16 different races across Canada and even the USA, who donate $1 from every lap they lead directly to Muscular Dystrophy Canada. There are currently over 50,000 Canadians affected by Muscular Dystrophy.

Muscular Dystrophy is a muscle disorder that in many cases takes away a person’s ability to walk, stand, speak and for some to even breathe. For some the condition is fatal. This is why Laps 4 MD aims to provide them with this special day.

 Make sure and follow Laps 4 MD on facebook at and on Twitter @Laps4MD
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Vehicle Accessibility: Why planning ahead is always best

Vans are always a great option when considering your future needs.
When it comes to vehicle accessibility I know first hand how important it is to plan ahead. As your future needs change owning a vehicle that suits your current and future needs is always best. Unfortunately in my case I actually didn't follow my own advice. In life we all make mistakes but one good thing about it is that others can learn from them. Well not so good for the person who made the mistake but others can avoid going down the same road. It was almost 2 years ago when my wife and I had to replace a vehicle that was having more than a few issues. So we went out and bought a new car that over the last few years has become increasingly difficult for me to get in and out of. At the time other vehicles that would suit my needs were simply out of our price range. So the mistake I made was thinking that a small little car would work. Now it's a great little car, I just wish it sat up just a little bit higher. As that would go a long way solving the issues I am currently facing.

 You see in recent years due to the progression of my Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy, my leg muscles have grown weaker resulting in making it harder for me to get up from a low seated position. I guess being a blogger who shares my story of living with physical limitation I should have known better. But like they say no one is perfect. Even more embarrassing is being a car guy I should have known that a small car that sits pretty low to the ground would eventually cause me some difficulty. Thankfully my arms are still strong enough to offer me some assistance when exiting my car, but I know I would really benefit from driving an SUV or even a mini-van. Both offer a raised ride height resulting in making it much easier for occupants to enter and exit the vehicle. Another plus is their capability of transporting walkers and wheelchairs.

Unfortunately due to their popularity SUV's and vans usually cost more to purchase then compact cars. We all know our budgets dictate what we can afford and for many of us vehicles that are set up to handle our specific needs can simply be out of reach. Sometimes the option of buying a much older vehicle that suits your needs can be risky. I have made that mistake in the past and it wasn't fun being stuck with many unwanted repair bills. That's what led to the purchase of my current small car. In the end my advice for anyone with a physical disability that happens to get progressively worse over time, is to plan ahead. If possible look into purchasing a vehicle that is set up to handle your future needs that way when the time comes you are fully prepared. 

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