My name is Candisse McCormick. I am flattered to be one of this year’s Alberta Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Ambassadors. I have been involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada for many years, at many different levels, so this is a true honor. It also brings back many memories from my childhood when I was 5 years old and a Poster Child for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
As anyone affected by muscular dystrophy knows, life is a battle. You are always faced with challenges, but I believe that as long as you stay optimistic you can overcome anything. As an ambassador I am suppose to share my story, inspire people, and influence you to do your part to help make muscles move. The thing is, for me I don’t feel as though I have “a story” it’s just my life as I know it. So I will do my best to give you a glimpse into my life. One thing that I always like to share when I am asked to “tell my story” is that I don’t do this to make people feel sorry for me, or to pray for a better life for me. I have a GREAT life, and everything that I have been through has made me the person I am today.
At 18 months old, my parents were given the news and I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1. Of course this news is always devastating, but it doesn’t help that back then the “statistics” about those with SMA showed a very short life span. Mine was that I wouldn’t live past the age of 9. They say a lady should never tell her age, but I’ll make an exception for all of you. January 15th of this year I turned 30. Overall I have lived a pretty average life, other then the fact that at the age of 3, I received and started using my first power wheelchair. I went to regular public school, graduated High School, took some college classes, and now I have started my own business as an event planner. Only thing different from my story as opposed to others is that I learned to adapt to situations and surroundings as life moved forward. From adapted school workloads, to now making sure event spaces are accessible. I have never gone through life with any what if’s, or feeling like I have missed out on certain things in life because of my physical disability.
Being involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) and the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy gives me the ability to raise awareness and funds to help people like me live their life to the fullest. Having any type of MD can be expensive…power wheelchairs, home adaptations, special seating, adapted vehicles; the list goes on…these things all cost thousands of dollars. It’s organizations like MDC who help us obtain the funding or items to help make our lives easier. Over years they have helped me personally with the purchase of a tract lift, hospital-style bed, and most exciting to me – a new wheelchair adapted van. All of these items are ones that are getting me one step closer to being as fully independent as I can me…which is what I have always wanted.
As a 2013 Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Ambassador I promise to do my best to share my story like I have here, promote and share information about muscular dystrophy, and raise funds for the Walk for MD in hopes of carrying out the overall goal of finding a cure for muscular dystrophy.