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By Walt Buteau

NEWPORT, RI (WPRI) –  Raymond Fisher doesn’t walk very often any more, but he discovered he could fly despite a horrible fear of heights. Sometimes little brothers will do anything to keep a promise to their big sister.

“Just because you have a disability, doesn’t mean you can’t live your life,” Fisher tells us from his wheelchair. “You have to live every day like it’s your last day.”

He lived that philosophy with his sister Makayla.

“She’s beautiful huh?” he says, smiling down at a picture of her.

She had Cystic Fibrosis. Raymond was born with Cerebral Palsy.

“She helped him in any way possible that she could,” their mother Sonya tells us. “And he helped her. They were there for each other.”

Until about three years ago. Makayla lost her battle with what her mom calls a dreadful disease, spending most of the final five years of her life in the hospital. For his 23 birthday, Raymond decided to keep a skydiving promise to Makayla, to again show anyone paying attention that they can do anything. Makayla would not be on the tarmac at Newport State Airport to see it, but her son was there, giving his uncle a hug before take off. His parents were there too, happy and nervous at the same time as Raymond was lifted into the Skydive Newport airplane.

“I said to myself why am I doing this? Then, I thought about her,” Raymond says. “And it made it alright. I know she’d be real proud.”

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By Highland Community News

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Thanks to three Cal Poly students, a Los Osos man with cerebral palsy and his father — who have competed together as Team Joseph in 100 races, from 5Ks to marathons — was able to participate in the San Luis Obispo Triathlon on July 27.

Despite 12 years of running competition, 20-year-old Joseph Cornelius has never been able to compete in the three-sport discipline that combines a half-mile pool swim with a 15.3-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run.

Joseph lacks muscle control over his limbs as a result of cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair for mobility.

Cal Poly mechanical engineering majors Lilly Hoff of Crawford, Colo., and Paul Sands of Highland, and kinesiology major Andrea Voigt of Chula Vista, designed and built the Aquabullet, a 6- by 4-foot flotation device that supports Joseph while he is towed during the swim by a member of his support team.

“It’s really opened up a whole new door for us,” said Cornelius’ father, John. “It’s another chapter.”

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By Jessica Bringe

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) – An area man who lost his son to cerebral palsy is remembering his son by helping other special needs families and those dealing with loss.

Mark Harnisch lost his son, Dakota, nearly 10 years ago. Now, for the anniversary of Dakota’s 18th birthday, he’s holding an event in his memory, in hopes of bringing together families who’ve experienced similar losses and struggles.

Harnisch says, “It’s just a way to keep his memory alive, there’s nothing worse than losing a child and for everyone just to know a little piece of him sure does help us.”

Harnisch is determined to use Dakota’s memory to help heal others.

“Cody would have been 18 yesterday. He passed away from complications from cerebral palsy. We just decided as a treat for his birthday to put on an event just to help other kids out. We opened it up, to special need children or children who have been through loss. One of the girls here has lost her father,” said Harnisch.

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