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With over 7,000 staff making up #TeamNELFT, we have a lot of stories to
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Physiotherapist David Marriott shares his story about qualifying with a Muscular Dystrophy diagnosis

Photograph of David on his travels, NELFT logos

NELFT physiotherapist, David Marriott, who works in the Pulmonary Rehab service, has Miyoshi Myopathy. He hasn’t let this stop him from becoming a physiotherapist and visiting almost every country in Europe. 

"I was always a really active kid, and sports was a big part of my childhood. Looking back now, I can see there were small signs that something wasn’t quite right, but you don’t notice them at the time.


“As far as I was concerned, I was a fit and healthy young lad. So, it was beyond a shock when I got told at the age of 19 that I have muscular dystrophy, just two days before I was moving to Amsterdam." 

As a college student, David, visited Romania with a charity where he helped vulnerable disabled children at a specialist centre that offered respite, treatment, and fun therapeutic activities for the children. He worked with two teenagers with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and learnt about the condition and saw firsthand how the teenagers benefited from daily physiotherapy.  For David, this trip was his confirmation of wanting to be a physiotherapist.  


Before starting his physiotherapy studies in The Netherlands, David found out that he had a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Myoshi Myopathy.  

"Looking back, there were a couple of signs. From about 14-years-old I started walking with my feet bent inward a little, and at 16 I stopped being able to stand on my tip toes. But I’d never thought much of the change, so my diagnosis felt really sudden”.

He decided to not let his condition stop him from qualifying as a physiotherapist, which he achieved in 2021. David contacted the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) who helped finding a role that were accommodating to his limitations. CSP was able to connect David with their DisAbility Network, which gave him the opportunity to work for NELFT.


David now works treating patients with chronic lung conditions such as asthma and COPD as part of NELFT’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Team. 

“I treat them in a very hands-off way, demonstrating breathing exercises, assessing people and leading exercise classes from a seated position. I can do everything that’s required of me in this role, and the team understand I can’t work on my own in case a patient falls over.


"At the moment I walk with a walking stick, but I know my mobility is getting worse. A friend and I with a similar condition talk about mourning the loss of strength in our life. I can’t remember what it’s like to run anymore. But I’m determined not to let my condition stop me”.

Outside of being a physiotherapist, one of David’s biggest passions, is travelling. He said:

“I’ve visited over 55 countries so far and I’m very close to visiting every country in Europe. My dream is to be the first person with muscular dystrophy to visit every country in the world. Of course, getting to skip the queues at airport security is a handy perk!" 

To find out more about what NELFT’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Team does, visit: Pulmonary rehabilitation service | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust


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