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Muscular dystrophy: meet Jon

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Jonathan with his live-in carer - muscular dystrophy care

Discover how Jon is completing his PhD at Cambridge

The BBC documentary, Lifeline Appeal for Muscular Dystrophy UK, celebrated Jonathan Gilmour’s life at university as he completed his PhD final year at Cambridge. Let’s meet Jon and his support worker, Valentin, to find out more.

Diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of seven, Jon has overcome major physical challenges to be where he is today. And with the help of Valentin, his live-in assistant, he is overcoming immense physical challenges every day.

“Valentin makes a huge difference to all areas of my daily life,” Jon shared. “He is always flexible and has built up a great working relationship with me.”

While Jon concentrates on his studies, Valentin is there to provide nursing care including ventilation support, cough assist and continence care.

Valentin said, “In terms of Jon’s routine, I am very confident in the care that I am providing, meaning that he is confident and relaxed too.”

And, of course, university life would not be the same without social life at the forefront.

“As Jon’s main carer I can say that our relationship is very good,” explained Valentin, “and I think this is mainly down to me being a young, sociable person who likes to share my enthusiasm with others.

“Myself and Jon are near enough the same age,” he said, “which allows us to share mutual hobbies such as music, movies and computer games.”

Valentin added, “It’s extremely rewarding helping Jon with his life here at Cambridge. He’s completing a great PhD and I know that I have made a difference too.”

Expert live-in support for muscular dystrophy

Helping Hands provides a fully managed service, meaning that the support Jon receives is consistent across the academic year and his breaks from university and with clear communication throughout.

Carers are required to support every aspect of Jon’s life and needs, whilst allowing him the freedom to make his own decisions and pursue an active social life.

Balancing the need to provide independence and achieve outcomes is difficult; thus, the relationship Jon has with his carers and the management team at Helping Hands is fundamental to the continuing success of his care package.

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