Role models inspire people to be extraordinary and show us that anything is possible when you have a strong will and determination. People tend to gather courage and power from others around them who manage to go after their dreams. Today we have a look at these famous athletes with cerebral palsy, in an attempt to bring forward meaningful life stories and hopefully empower people.
What is it That We Seek in Role Models?
When we’re kids, we tend to have at least one person that we look up to, and that can be our mother, our father, our grandparent, teacher and so on. There is a figure in our lives even from early on that stands above all the rest and that we seem to admire and perhaps even one day desire to be. Now this changes over time and our role models might not stay the same, but fundamentally this can change us for the better.
By mirroring the behaviour of one of our good role models, we learn how to be better people, and that can linger on for the rest of our lives and influence us positively. Even though having a role model means looking up to another person, the end goal is to become the better version of yourself.
Having someone to emulate offers a path of values to follow, of qualities that you can use to improve your life. In the case of athletes, they give us an immense sense of awe and inspiration, as they push their boundaries and their skills to overcome obstacles and become the best in their field of expertise.
Cerebral Palsy Didn’t Stop Them
Cerebral palsy affects movement, posture and motor skills to varying degrees according to each individual. It can have an impact on a day to day basis, however, it’s not a progressive disease, meaning there is room for growth.
For a lot of people diagnosed with cerebral palsy, this condition didn’t stop them to achieve their wildest dreams. It didn’t stop them conquering their fears and fighting for what they wanted. For many, it was more of a push to strive for more, to live life fuller, and to become stronger.
For Justin Gallegos, for example, it was not something he considered an obstacle. In an interview published in Runners World, his father Brent remembers how Justin ran and won the first Paralympic division when it opened at the 400 meters.
Justil Gallegos, a Marathon Runner With Cerebral Palsy
Justin became famous when the video of Nike presenting him with a surprise contract racked up hundreds of thousands of views. It is fantastic, yet it wasn’t easy at all.
When Justin started running, his feet kept turning inward, causing him to fall frequently. But his ambition, his drive, and a good coach together with a good routine helped him through. He graduated and joined the University of Oregon Running Club and went on to sign his 3 year contract with Nike.
On average, Justin ran 45 to 50 miles a week, with a long run and tempos of shorter intervals. He says cerebral palsy pushes him even further, to go beyond his goals and he feels he can be an inspiration to people everywhere with cp. One thing’s for sure, he is one of the most vibrant and enthusiastic atheletes with cerebral palsy and he shines through every single step.
Bonner Paddock – First Person with Cerebral Palsy to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted
Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,336 square feet. It is one of the seven summits and one of the hardest climbing challenges a mountaneer can ask for. To even some of the fittest among us, it can prove extremely difficult to summit.
But for Bonner Paddock, a California businessman with cerebral palsy, this mission was very much possible. He wanted to do the expedition to raise funds to build a center for kids with disabilities. His disability makes it harder for him to climb, because of his severe pain and his poor night vision, alongside with other effects.
However, he was determined. And he made it happen. He is a force to be reckoned and his journey of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was documented on screen. He also wrote a book detailing his intense experience and you can find more details about it here.
These are just some of the extraordinary people with cerebral palsy who have gone above and beyond and who have inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. Keep reading our Blog to find out more inspiring stories.
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