This musician living with a rare muscular disorder is inspiring others

Beating the Odds profiles people who despite their physical and health challenges, have pushed on to pursue their dreams and accomplish some incredible things. 

James Ian was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a rare condition that affects the body’s ability to build muscle.

Ian was originally diagnosed as a child, and since then his health has made daily tasks like driving, walking, or even playing the guitar a difficult feat.

“Because of the disability, I didn’t really think that anyone would want to hang out with me or that girls would like me,” he told In The Know. “I was miserable.”

But Ian didn’t let that feeling stay with him. Instead, he found an outlet in music, learning to play multiple instruments in a time when he needed an outlet.

“I was fascinated that I could feel all of these emotions, and tap into something that was very primal,” he told In The Know. “I thought I could use music as a vehicle to raise awareness about [my condition].”

And that’s exactly what he’s done. As a singer-songwriter, Ian has never let his physical limits dictate the lengths to which he’ll go to achieve his dreams. He’s gone on to release a nine-song EP, “The Labor of Love,” in 2017, as well as a new single, “Make a Stand,” in early 2020.

Ian said the early inspirations for his music came from problems stemming from his disability, including anxiety he felt over dating. Now, he’s learned to accept things and embrace himself for who he is.

“I just owned it at some point, you know?” Ian told In The Know. “I was like, “I’m not getting rid of this disability. I’m always gonna walk with a limp and I’m gonna fall down, so you’re either here for it or you’re not.'”

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