A memorable scene from Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket highlights the horrors of war: after much damage to the town, paramedics pull a female pilot out of a wrecked Gundam surrounded by debris. Our protagonist, a young boy named Al, is shocked, pupils as dilated as can be. To him, this female pilot occupies a very different sphere: a domestic one. In fact, she’s his old babysitter.
At age five, I was diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscular condition that mainly impacts my legs. The process was slow, providing me the opportunity to confront my identity as a person with a disability. While my family fretted over my diagnosis, I felt confused. My parents emphasized that I had to respect my physical limitations, to avoid overexertion, or my condition would worsen. “Did my body not work like everyone else’s?” I wondered, piquing both my curiosity and my concern. Drawn by these feelings, I became compelled to study Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a condition similar to my own, and pursue a PhD in biomedical science.