When Barry needed to find new accessible accommodation, he turned to Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Barry served in the 1st battalion Royal Regiment of Wales for 10 years without knowing he had a neuromuscular condition, despite having symptoms which made army life difficult to cope with. He said:
“Throughout my service in the UK and overseas, my high arched feet caused me issues through feet fractures on a number of occasions but no medical doctor ever picked up the implications. I also had further issues with my knees resulting in knee surgery after service.”
Barry was finally diagnosed with CMT 1a, after a bad 16-feet fall from his garage roof resulted in numbness in his hands. The fall led to Barry taking nerve conduction tests, which highlighted the condition, and CMT was confirmed via a blood test.
“Since being told that CMT could be in our family, we have discovered sadly my 17-year-old daughter has it, as well as my brother, sister and two of her sons.”
Barry got in touch with MDUK when he needed help to find accessible accommodation when he moved back to Wales following the death of his partner.
After Army life, Barry worked in the Justice sector until 16 years later his employer ended his work with them because of his disability.
“Within six months I was back in work with Homeless armed Forces Veterans. I also was a volunteer caseworker with SSAFA-The Armed Forces Charity.
“I am now wearing both ankle and leg braces. I use crutches full-time and have a wheelchair for distances. I still drive but have just started using an automatic car. I have my licence restricted to a three-year period and keep the DVLA updated.
“My wish for all affected by CMT would be for better orthotics to be made available.”
Orthotic services include prescription insoles, braces, splints, callipers, footwear, to help people live with lifelong conditions. The correct supply and fitting of orthoses can help improve quality of life by reducing pain, keeping people mobile and independent and preventing more invasive and expensive interventions like surgery, amputation or the need for social care.