30 Days of MD: Fitness Gave Me the Strength to Carry On

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Dominic Marabello

Day 14 of 30

This is Dominic Marabello’s (@marabellofitness) story:

When I was a teenager, I noticed that other boys my age were beginning to grow muscle while my thin frame remained the same. As I entered my sophomore year of high school, I was noticeably underdeveloped in muscle growth, and was diagnosed with scoliosis. I wore a back brace 16 hours a day but I chose to rise above this adversity and play basketball. My peers were unaware of the brace under the jersey and my extreme discomfort.

Flash-forward to my senior year: I was rushed to the ER after a basketball game due to shortness of breath, dizziness, and tunnel vision. After a few months, I was sent to Boston Children’s Hospital for a cardiac ablation to resolve what was assumed to be atrial flutter. After the surgery, the doctors determined that I had atrial fibrillation. Despite this additional diagnosis, I finished my senior year strong and attended Springfield College in the fall of 2010.

I remained active in college but by sophomore year, I still weighed only 135 pounds. With help from a friend who was an avid weightlifter, I learned the fundamentals of working out to promote muscle and strength. I was hooked! My body finally began to grow and I graduated college at 167 pounds. While my appearance was a motivating factor when I began, fitness became so much more.

In June 2018, life threw another curveball. I pulled a muscle I had routinely remedied in the past but this time, I wasn’t recovering. After many tests and doctors, I was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy (DM1). With all the adversity I had already faced, the reality of living with a muscular disease was devastating. Neurologists, however, credit my healthy lifestyle and fitness regimen for my muscle mass and mild symptoms.

My passion for fitness, coupled with MD, inspired me to motivate and educate others through YouTube, as a personal trainer. A number of my clients have their own physical struggles and, together, we grow in strength!

My mission is always to do whatever it takes to keep moving forward and to do the best I can with the life⁠ — and body ⁠— I’ve been given.

Muscular Dystrophy News’ 30 Days of MD campaign will publish one story per day for MD Awareness Month in September. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofMD, or read the full series.