My name is Austin
Pratt and this is my second year participating in the Walk for Muscular
Dystrophy. Until my diagnosis of FSHD in 2015, I didn't even know what Muscular
Dystrophy was. Fascioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy is almost as hard to say
as it is to explain. FSHD is a muscle disorder in which the muscles of the
face, shoulder blades and upper arms deteriorate. This can happen quickly or
over many years.
My diagnosis came
after I began to struggle with lifting my hands above my head. Not knowing how
FSHD would affect my life left a sort of void you could say. I was just about
to turn 16 when we received the phone call saying the blood work was positive
for FSHD. I had spent my whole life
wanting to become a Fire Fighter and follow in my Grandpa's footsteps, so this
news was not what one wants to hear when planning on a very physical future.
Since my diagnosis, I have learned that adjustments need to be made to my life
plans, but I am not one to give up.
As I said before, last year was my first Walk. I
came away from the walk with amazement. The most enjoyable part of
participating in the Walk was the people. You meet all of these people that are
going through similar feelings and emotions. Whether it is themselves, a friend
or a family member, they are all there to support one another. I met new people
and learned more about Muscular Dystrophy.
I still struggle with
the biggest hurdle and that is the staring. Don't stare at me and wonder, ask
questions! I will tell you everything you want to know. I feel like awareness is the key. If we
continue to talk and spread the word about the reason we Walk, more people
would understand. I joined Barb at the 2017 Saskatchewan Association of Fire
Chiefs Conference in Prince Albert. I admit going into the weekend I was very
nervous, what could I possibly talk to people about when it comes to muscular
dystrophy? It was an amazing learning
experience. I loved giving people knowledge about my disease so they can have a
better understanding. I hope in talking to people about my condition and
raising awareness about Muscular Dystrophy I can help just one person see
things differently or feel better about what they are going through.
My family and friends
are the biggest support group I have. They walked with me last year, they are
walking with me this year and I know they will Walk with me in the future.
Will you Walk with us?