Photo Blog by Benjamin James

 

I am about to start a new chapter in my life along with so many other 18 year olds who have finished their secondary school days.

This new chapter in my life is university, a Chance for a fresh start, new friendships and endless opportunities. Having the opportunity to go to university is a gift that should not be taken for granted. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that despite not quite getting the grades on results day, that I had secured a place at the university of Nottingham to study Neuroscience. This was clearly meant to be. I have feelings of excitement and apprehension as a new adventure lies ahead, with new challenges and a chance to shape my future and discover my true potential. University is a great place to grow as a person and to discover who you are and what you stand for; it is a chance to take risks and to stand out as an individual, to speak out, have your voice heard and ask questions of the world and of yourself. For me there are massive changes in my life other than starting university, such as having and using a powered wheelchair for the first time in my life and all the challenges and frustrations that it presents, as my condition, DMD has deteriorated over the past two years. However this new powered chair will enable me to do all the things that any other 18 year old would expect to do. The chair will enable me to move forward in my life without DMD holding me back. It will allow me to make the most of the opportunities that university presents. I am so thankful to all those who have supported me and have helped raise the money to be able to afford the powered chair, which will enable me to live life to the best of my ability.

There is so much more to think about and organise before I go off to university, such as making sure my room is fully adapted to my needs as well as making sure I have a care package in place that meets my needs. This makes things just a little more complicated. But all these things will ensure that I can do all the things that I want to do, to be able to make the most of university life. Going to university is a massive change, moving away from home, making decisions on your own and facing the world. Without doubt there will be highs and lows, but at the end of it all, undoubtedly you will change and develop as a person, hopefully for the better.

I have faith that it will all work out and this will be the start of an amazing journey. Having Duchenne should not be seen as something to hold me back and although it is not easy to get others to understand the implications of Duchenne and the true severity of the condition, it will not prevent me from living life. University should be the best three years of your life and you should not let Duchenne or any other condition bring you down. There will be days when your condition does bring you down, but you will get through those days and keep on keeping on. Having Duchenne should not prevent you from doing all the things in life you wish to do.

“For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything”. James 1:3-4