Our Muscle Ambassadors play a pivotal role in the charity. They help to further grow our famous tribe of Muscle Warriors but also offer help and support to beneficiaries – and their families – taking part in our incredible Muscle Dreams experiences.
From leading the conversation on our social media channels to bringing their passion and insight to our fundraising activities, to meeting the media, the Ambassador agenda is endless!
Meet Leah, Sulaiman and Vivek, the charity’s first Muscle Ambassadors. They’ve had first-hand experience of a Muscle Dream – and the transformative legacy it leaves.
From unforgettable memories of Olympic proportions to reaching for the skies and never looking back, our trio have gained self-esteem and lasting friendships from their experiences with the charity.
In 2012, three days after my grandfather died, I went to the charity’s flagship Games Inspired Muscle Dreams event. During a period of deep grief, to be surrounded by people filled with so much passion, enthusiasm and care for those with muscular dystrophy, I felt the love. I haven’t looked back.
When I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a baby, the doctors told my parents I was unlikely to live past the age of five. Over the years, this gloomy prognosis increased bit by bit. At the time of writing this, I’m 32.
Aside from the shadow of this hanging over my head, I didn’t learn to read and write until I was ten. The school I went to catered to a broad church of disability, but unfortunately too broad for me to learn the basics as someone with an exclusively physical disability, rather than mental. I was lucky enough to travel around the world with my parents – all experiences that I suspect helped shape my current attitude towards life: go for it!
Experiences come in all shapes and sizes, some are positive, some are negative, some are small and seemingly insignificant and some have the ability to shape you, change you and alter your future. I have gone through them all.
When I was younger, up until the age of 14, my experiences were pretty standard for someone my age. It was all about making friends, learning your times tables and trying to navigate the minefield that is ‘High School’ but as I got older, and my disability became more of a factor, my experiences began to change. At age 14 I discovered I needed surgery to correct Scoliosis, curvature of the spine. I was suddenly facing something I was completely unprepared for: it was a blur of test, appointments and medication leading up to an 11-hour surgery. I had to grow up practically overnight.
From that moment on I was an adult, which in some ways was fantastic…
Understanding the meaning of life has always been a passion of mine. Life is filled with experiences that form who you are today and continue to shape you in the future. Meeting Michael McGrath at the London 2012 Games Inspired Muscle Dreams programme was a defining moment, altering my perception of disability ~ no longer was it a barrier to legendary status. I realised that life is under my control ~ I just needed to fill it with meaning.
I was already born with a rare hereditary bleeding condition called Haemophilia A, who would think that I’d develop another hereditary condition? I was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at age 8 after a tough 5-year misdiagnosis. The prognosis of DMD was grim and life-changing.
The misdiagnosis was a confusing blur jeopardising my primary education, as I constantly moved schools to accommodate my uncertain needs. My scoliosis corrective surgery interrupted my secondary education, it left me bed-bound for a year, as my NHS wheelchair was completely unsuitable for my needs. This isolation period was a pivotal turning point in my life, it was the foundation of who I am today.
Our Muscle Ambassadors are the pride of the charity. They lead by example in sharing their own life experiences, directly supporting new beneficiaries and their families as their Muscle Dreams unfold.
They help to educate, inform and inspire loyalty to our cause, championing our work and helping to attract new fans to our social media channels. Our Ambassadors understand what we do because they have directly experienced the transformational nature of our work. Applications are currently closed for the programme, but if you’d like to be considered as a future Ambassador, click the button below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.