Meet Anil Jalhan, also known as “The DMD Guy” on social media. At 26 years old, he shares his journey with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Despite facing physical challenges, Anil broke barriers by graduating from university and become an independent individual. As a Duchenne Ambassador, he aims to create a positive community, raise awareness, and inspire others to share their stories.

About Anil Jalhan

“My name is Anil and I am 26 years old, living in the UK. I thought I would talk about my Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) journey. Prior to my diagnosis I grew up not knowing I had it and even my parents didn’t know. As I was the first boy born after my parents had two healthy children, it was likely I would be healthy too. Eventually we found out that boys were mostly affected and how it can be passed down in the family.

I don’t remember much, but I remember walking to nursery and school with my mother. Eventually my mother would receive a phone call from the school informing her that I kept falling frequently and was moving much slower than other kids. This was the very first signs of the condition. Once we decided to get me checked out, it was clear what was wrong with me. I was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)

After the confirmed diagnosis, my future was full of questions and uncertainty, as I didn’t know how it would affect me. I would continue to move forward while going through these physical changes. I would experience being wheelchair bound and weak whilst enjoying my primary school days.

Once the time was right, I would later make my transition to my new special needs school. This was a huge moment of my life, as the school helped me become who I am today. Giving me the confidence to become an independent disabled person.

I am the person today because of this experience. I believe my disability has taught me many valuable life lessons and has helped shape the person I am today. My journey has been difficult with many barriers and many still to come. But I aim to just keep going. I usually like to say my future may not be clear, I may have a disability, but this will not stop me from achieving my dreams.”

Daily life with Duchenne

“I want to say being physically weak and all the constant changes I have and will go through. But I did come to the realization that it’s something I had to just accept and I could still pursue my dreams. One of my dreams was to graduate from University and I did back in 2019. With the help of assistive technology this was possible. One major barrier was my housing situation which I will talk about in another post hopefully. But this really was a serious one which stopped me from getting out of the house and sometimes even going to university.”

Duchenne Ambassador

“With Duchenne and my page, my goal has always been to create a positive Duchenne community for other DMD guys like myself. Also to raise as much awareness as possible. The WDAD has a similar goal which really motivated me to get more involved. I also wanted to share my story to hopefully encourage others to share theirs.”

Interpreting ‘Breaking Barriers’

“As someone living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) like many we go through many life changing moments during our Duchenne journey. With many battles and emotional moments. From not being able to walk or losing the ability to play your favorite sport. I think my interpretation of ‘breaking barriers’ is to have the ability to accept these changes and adapt to them while trying to remain positive. Lastly, I also think going through all these trials and tribulations and still being able to achieve something is breaking barriers. No matter how big or small the goal is.”

Key message

“The journey can be quite emotional at times and tough. The only thing we can do is try our best to enjoy life no matter how long it is. Also to create these precious memories. Through my stories I hope to show the reality of Duchenne but also try and show how life could be enjoyed as well. Another general message to the world is that everyone is affected by this, men, women and kids so let’s do something about it.”

Future goals

“I hope to see more people with Duchenne continue to break barriers and to share their story. Further increasing the awareness for Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy. In terms of my future I also will continue to overcome challenges. I hope to make use of any opportunities I get to raise awareness for Duchenne. Lastly I remain hopeful that there will be a cure in the future mainly because of our awareness efforts.”

We invite you to follow Anil’s story via Instagram and TikTok. Here he shares messages on resilience and the pursuit of joy in life. All while advocating for a future cure through increased awareness efforts. We are looking forward hearing your story about breaking barriers!

Instagram & TikTok: thedmdguy