Youth in Action: an eye-opening experience

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Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”—Confucius

When I was first diagnosed with Limb Girdle muscular dystrophy, little did I know that it was a blessing in disguise. Getting a long-term medical diagnosis makes it very easy to see the ugly in the world, to see the challenges, the heart break, and the sadness. But over time, my attitude towards a life with a physical disability changed and it was because I met others like me, others who have been affected by a neuromuscular disease.

I hold Muscular Dystrophy Canada entirely responsible for giving me some of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Whether it was discovering the support of Canadian Fire Fighters at fundraising events or attending leadership conferences in my area, I am blessed to have met some of the most beautiful souls I could’ve ever hoped to meet. These people are heroes and they are the reason I’m able to view life as an opportunity to discover the mystery of its beauty. The heroes I’m referring to are parents, siblings, friends, doctors, Fire Fighters, the staff behind Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and most importantly individuals with muscular dystrophy.

But I must say, I met many of these people at one particular event, and it was an event that I wish every Canadian youth with a neuromuscular disorder will attend. It was the Youth in Action conference—a three day event that brings together Canadian youth with muscular dystrophy. During these three days, I made friends, participated in workshops, heard inspirational stories, and gained a fresh perspective on life. I’ve never learned so much in my life than at this conference, and nor did I expect to have as much fun as I did. In fact, I think I had too much fun because when I returned home, I couldn’t stop talking about what I’d experienced!

I would be lying if I said life with muscular dystrophy is easy because the reality is it’s not. But meeting and interacting with individuals who choose to see life for its beauty rather than its flaws was contagious. It gave me reassurance that life is a meaningful gift and it is up to the recipient of this gift to choose how it will be used. At the Youth in Action conference, I created wonderful memories with amazing people and for that I will always be grateful. I’m happy to say I’m still in touch with many people I met at the conference and they’ve become lifelong friends.

I guess it’s true what Confucius said, that everything in life has beauty but it’s up to every individual to choose whether to see that beauty. I choose the latter, and I hope after reading this you do too.

If you’re a youth between the ages of 15 and 24, and you want to experience YIA for yourself get more information or register today.

Christina Massad currently resides in Markham, Ontario and has a Bachelor’s Degree of Journalism. She’s the Chairperson of the annual York Region Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and is hopeful a cure for muscular dystrophy will be found in her lifetime.

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