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By Nancy Haggerty

RAMAPO – His pants are pressed, his hair neatly shorn.

The collar of the shirt that has a big “B” appropriately positioned over his heart is adjusted to look just right.

The last item — John Thompson’s smile — is wide and bright.

Thompson is at work as a Rockland Boulders intern at Provident Bank Park, greeting people in the suites and customer-service lobby.

There’s no pay — not in dollars, anyway. But the 21-year-old considers what he has gained in three seasons here and says matter-of-factly, “I’m blessed.”

Some look at the Pearl River resident, a 2012 Nanuet High School graduate, and see a kid in a wheelchair, a kid saddled with forever “can’t”s. But as both he and the Boulders have learned, Thompson brings many more “can”s than “can’t”s to the table.

Born prematurely, he wasn’t expected to live. Surviving was just the first of miles of hurdles.

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By Blair Shiff & Anastasiya Bolton

DENVER – A local car dealership has donated a new car to the Denver woman living with cerebral palsy whose car was stolen on the Fourth of July.

Susanne Brasset received her Toyota Camry Wednesday morning. She was overjoyed.

“It’s amazing,” Brasset said. “I hope in some way, I can pay it forward as well because I have a feeling now this is a unique situation. [I'm] very humbled by it.”

The dealership did not want to be interviewed by 9NEWS because they wanted the focus to remain on Brasset.

“It’s so nice,” Brasset said. “It’s a luxury. I’m very aware of how lucky and fortunate I am.”

Brasset said her previous car that was stolen had served her well for 13 years. She fled Hurricane Katrina in it. She took it on road trips, and more importantly, all around Denver for her freelance photography gigs.

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By Dan Breimold

Marlena Katene recently interviewed the music group MKTO without speaking a single word — at least verbally.

The recent college graduate from Gold Coast, Australia was born with high-tone cerebral palsy, rendering her “non-verbal, living in a verbal world.”

The speech and movement disorder has not stopped Katene from establishing a career as an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and music reporter. In respect to the latter, she confidently describes herself as “Australia’s most unique journalist. … I am non-verbal, but will get the big names.”

Katene, 23, graduated in May from Griffith University in Queensland, a state on Australia’s eastern coast. During her time as a journalism student at the school, the big entertainment, business and sports names she interviewed and featured on her YouTube channel included golfer Adam Scott, magician David Copperfield, rapper Xzibit and comedian Russell Brand.

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