Tuesday, September 8, 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)

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

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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 www.facebook.com/laps4md 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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Please visit Brad's Auto Reviews

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Accessible Parking: An epidemic of stupidity?

Accessible Parking Fail - Parked between two Accessible Parking Spaces
There is currently an epidemic of idiots who are abusing their right to use accessible parking. If you visit any parking lot across any city you will see what we label as jerks using accessible parking incorrectly. The sure sign of someone who is inconsiderate to the needs of other's is those who make the idiot move of parking between two accessible parking spaces. What they end up doing is making each spot on either side unusable. This is when the word jerk comes into mind. After all many of us already know that the area between two accessible parking spaces were created to give those with limited mobility a safe place to access their vehicles. Many refer to this as the cross hatching area between accessible parking spaces. I like to refer to this a the no go zone as the cross hatching is meant to signify that you are not allowed to park there.
Vehicle Parked Between two Accessible Parking Spaces at local Wal-Mart
 When ever someone parks between two accessible parking spaces they end up removing people's ability to access their vehicles in a safe manor. After all what do you think accessible parking permits were created for? It really shouldn't come as a surprise that these spaces are not just about getting a closer parking space. Even worse think about the affect parking over the cross hatching has on those who use wheelchairs. What you are doing is removing the one place that is very useful for those of us who require that extra room. You also have to think about people who drive fully accessible vehicles, they need this area simply to put their ramps down. It is complete stupidity to block anyone's access to their own vehicles. So please THINK and if you are in the habit of parking in this way it needs to STOP! As the police can ticket anyone even permit holders for using these spaces incorrectly. 

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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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