When it comes to passion, I know few with as much of it for raising awareness and
understanding of life with a neuromuscular condition and promoting independence as the
man sitting in frame on my PC screen, James Parkin. He is the recipient of this month’s
Pathfinders Neuromuscular Alliance Honours and the creative mind behind the disability
blog: James Parkin Living Life DMD style.

Back in November 2021, James, who lives with a rare Neuromuscular Condition known as
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD for short) posted his first Vlog on the home of Video
Blogs, YouTube, after noticing a gap in the market with there being very few disabled
influencers. Since that first day, things have expanded to a written blog, a TikTok channel
and many followers who avidly take in James’ life and what it’s like to live with DMD. “I
call it Living Life DMD style,” James remarks, “But it’s for anyone with a disability really.”

During the course of the interview, it’s clear that James doesn’t mind sharing all aspects of
his life and the vlogs on YouTube are testament to that. No subject is left unchecked from
vital equipment, such as Cough Assist machines, right up to Bandit the Transit. Harder
subjects are addressed such as bullying and discrimination and there is the touching tribute to
his brother, Thomas Parkin, who sadly passed away in 2012 at age 16 from DMD.

James is right, disabled influencers are few and far between. But it isn’t just about plonking
yourself down in front of a camera and waffling for five minutes. Running a YouTube
channel is hard work. With preparation time, shooting videos, editing said videos and then
uploading them to the platform of choice, it all takes time and for so very little reward. But
for James it’s not about the fame or the reward. I asked James where he sees his blog in five
years time. “To be honest, I’m not so sure.” He replies modestly. “I’d like something to
come of it, campaign would be good. There’s a lot needs changing.

With all the work that goes into an endeavour like this, down time and a good work-life
balance is imperative. When not filming, or doing any of the above, James likes to play for
his local football club, Leeds United, visiting places in Bandit the Transit and of course,
filming for his Vlog, which in itself, has become a hobby. “I thought it would only last a
month and then I would get bored. But I started to help people so I kept it going.”

For those of you that are interested, you can check out James’ videos on YouTube channel
Living Life DMD Style. Congratulations once again, James Parkin.
James Parkin – living life, DMD style!! – YouTube

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