It’s a decade since Michael McGrath, CEO and founder of the Muscle Help Foundation, gave an inspirational speech in public for the first time and he’s looking forward to the next decade with optimism.
A year on from life-saving surgery and after uttering the formidable words ‘I’m back’ whilst in recovery, a key milestone has been reached – today is Michael’s 51st birthday. This is a fitting platform to celebrate his life, to express his gratitude to those who’ve supported him and to those who’ve been inspired by his ability to engage hearts and minds.
Thousands of people have heard Michael speak at corporate conferences for Virgin, PwC, Shell and the NHS among many others, as well as speaking at events and for schools. They’re all ages and from different walks of life and they’ve all been motivated by his unique and powerful story; his relaunched website – www.michaelmcgrath.co.uk – lets everyone read that story for themselves.
His milestones just keep popping up: one of his first ever public talks was by invitation from the local Women’s Institute (WI) in Buntingford, Herts, in April 2003. Raffle sales on the night raised £90, which was sent to Mark Bebb, a young man with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, enabling him to watch his beloved Aston Villa play Spurs. Sadly, Mark died in 2008.
As a record-breaking polar adventurer, having successfully led expeditions to both the North and South Poles, Michael makes no secret of his own disability. If he wants to look you in the eye to tell you about it, he’ll raise his wheelchair and do just that.
Listed in the Power100 2016 as one of the most influential disabled people in Britain, Michael is also the charismatic CEO of multi award-winning charity the Muscle Help Foundation. He puts his campaigning energy into making a difference every day, by giving hope to the lives of children and young people with muscular dystrophy (MD) and their families. Since he himself was diagnosed with MD at the age of 18, he knows what it’s like to live with this devastating muscle wasting disease. And how to carry on living.
“Speaking to audiences gives me the opportunity to engage hearts and minds,” said Michael. “I hope I can show that the power to choose to live an ordinary life as opposed to an extraordinary one remains in everyone’s grasp. The one thing any of us can give is a unique story. If you can figure out what your story is and then tell it in a really compelling way, it can be a powerful catalyst in driving positive change.
“Your story can help build a brand that represents who you are, a brand that inspires. But, above all, it can help you find the thing you were born to do. My disability has become a passport in enabling me to engage emotionally and intellectually with audiences, to motivate and transform the way people think and act. Your story can help you take the first step towards doing something you love, something you can put the pain and work into. And if you do that, your brand might just succeed!”
The last ten years have presented many milestones and Michael has overcome them. He knows there are more ahead in the next ten years. Who knows where this inspirational man will be in 2026?