Liam Miller is a 21-year-old Computer Science major in his final year at Temple University. Like many 20-somethings, Liam lives on his own and is making the most of the college adventure. He's smart, has a razor-sharp wit, and has tons of friends. Last year, his hockey team won the championship!
Liam also has Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. He hasn't been able to walk on his own since the age of seven, and uses a power wheelchair to get around. It was nerve-wracking for the whole family to send Liam off to college, knowing that he would have to rely on himself and his nurses to make sure he stayed healthy and kept his grades up, but it has been totally worth it.
Cure CMD got the inside scoop around Liam’s everyday life when we sent our amazing film intern, Joyce Chang, to Philadelphia to follow Liam around for a couple days and see what his day-to-day life was like. Joyce edited hours of footage down to 11 minutes! Check out the short film here.
Ultimately, Cure CMD wanted to share an inside look at Liam’s life to demystify the process of a person with CMD able to be independent and living away from home. Part of Cure CMD’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people living with CMD and their families, and a huge part of that is independence for affected individuals. Understandably, many parents are terrified at the thought of allowing their affected child live away from home, even after they’re fully grown. It makes sense—with limited mobility and function, a person with CMD may have needs that other people don’t. However, it’s key to that person’s ability to thrive that he or she is allowed some exploration of freedom. Children must be allowed to grow up, take risks, and surprise themselves - regardless of their abilities.
We also hope that this film shows how society is—or is not—accessible to a person with limited mobility. Philadelphia is the sixth-most populous city in the U.S., and in 2016, attracted 42 million domestic visitors. It’s important that we highlight ways the city has made itself navigable to people of all ability levels, encouraging other places to do the same.