A YOUTUBE channel and a Facebook page — that’s all James Parkin needs to prove a point and show there’s life even after a fatal diagnosis.
James (28), of Rotherham, has been living with his condition, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, for almost two decades.
At ten he was just an average little boy who loved playing and watching football, before he began to lose the ability to walk.
Five years later he was put on a ventilator.
James explained: “Having Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy means your muscles get weaker and weaker as you grow older.
“My brother, Thomas, who passed away ten years ago, had the same condition.
“I struggled with it first but for the last couple of years I've been more comfortable talking about it.”
Duchenne is a genetic disorder with no cure, and the average life expectancy is around the mid-20s.
However, James has learnt to live with his condition and enjoy life to the full.
He started a YouTube channel and a Facebook page to raise awareness and promote disability equality — and just to share his journey and show others the diagnosis is not the end.
He said: “I didn’t think it’d be popular but after a couple of weeks people started taking notice and saying it was really helpful.
“I’m trying to help all people with all sorts of disabilities by talking about my condition and life. About six weeks ago I thought I had enough followers to create a Facebook page.
“The average life expectancy of a person with this condition is only 26 — I’m now 28, and for a lot of parents when they find out their children have got disabilities it’s quite a shock.
“So when they see my videos of me going places, and my life in general, it can give them hope.”
James is getting more popular as he creates more and more videos of himself attending Leeds United games — he’s a massive fan — or places such as York’s Vikings Museum.
James said: “I get up around nine o’clock. I need two people to help me get up and into my wheelchair, which takes about an hour.
“My days depend on if I have any plans.
“I tend to spend half a day at least going out and doing something. I love football. I go to Leeds games as many times as possible.
“I like music and I like going to concerts as well. I like museums and I do like to go out and do day trips.”
James’ content has proved popular with YouTube followers — he receives praise from strangers on his posts.
He said: “The feedback’s been great.
“Quite a few people told me what I was doing was inspirational and really helpful.
“I think there’s a bit of a stigma around disability but it’s getting better.
“The only thing that’s wrong with me is that my muscles are weaker. My brain, on the other hand, has its full capacity, there’s no problem there.
“I’m a quite shy person but doing the videos has increased my confidence. I’d like to think about myself as someone who’s here to help and who listens and is good at explaining things.”
You can find James’ YouTube channel by searching “James Parkin – living life, DMD style!!” and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/livinglifeDMDstyle to get the latest videos and details about his journey.