31 Days of SMA: Confidence Is Key to Living With SMA

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by BNS Staff |

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confidence is key | SMA News Today | Photo of Maxwell McKnight

Photo courtesy of Maxwell McKnight

Day 27 of 31

This is Maxwell McKnight’s (@maxwellmnight) story:

Hello! My name is Maxwell. I’m 18 and have just finished my A levels. I have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 2. This September, I begin my journey into higher education, where I will study business management at Anglia Ruskin University. I’m very driven and hope to achieve big things moving forward.

Throughout my life, I have faced many challenges. Most of these have been overcome with the extreme determination I believe you need when living with SMA. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful group of supportive friends and family. Without many of these relationships, a lot I have achieved wouldn’t have been as easy.

The primary support has come from my parents, who have always fought in my corner from day one. In the early days of my diagnosis, they pushed me to do physiotherapy and exercise, which ultimately allowed my older self to have much more movement and strength. Moving on through my childhood, they made me feel as included as I could have been. They planned school trips so I could go independently with my peers and pushed me to be the best I could be. I believe it’s essential to have a close and open relationship with your parents, as they are the only people who can grasp the challenges you may go through.

Independence is crucial to living your greatest life. I’ve had many friendships that have allowed me to access things and experiences I wouldn’t have been able to do alone, like a friend willing to help me on days out, cutting up my food, and understanding my needs.

I’ve been in a relationship for almost three years now. Over this time, I’ve experienced so much that it’s overwhelming to think about. I’ve explored more of what the world offers with fewer barriers, which I’m incredibly grateful for. My confidence has grown and continues to do so.

I wish I had been more outgoing when I was younger. Through friendships, family, and my relationship, I have learned that I should just be myself and that I am enough. To anyone with SMA or even without, I have found that being confident in yourself is the most important thing in overcoming anything in life. As a result of not taking “No” for an answer and always believing, many more opportunities have arisen for me. It is allowing me to grow and mature as a person.

SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.