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By Derek Spalding

Eric McLean stood near the entrance of the Winners department store on Tecumseh Road East and stretched his index fingers against his eyes to hide the tears.

At age 11, it had been five years since he had the pivotal surgery that released much of the debilitating hold cerebral palsy has on his young body. The boy’s family couldn’t be happier about the results considering Eric wasn’t even able to uncross his legs — let alone walk — until doctors severed nearly half the nerves connected to his spine.

But as much as they appreciate watching Eric run around the backyard now, they realize just how important it is for children with severe disabilities to have fun. This is precisely why their well-spoken son on Monday night stood on his own, charming a small crowd with his overwhelming appreciation for what he calls the most “epic” gift he could ever get.

Eric and his family are off to California next month to visit both LEGOLAND and Disneyland thanks to the Sunshine Foundation, the Canadian organization that provides experiences of a lifetime to children with severe disabilities or life-threatening illnesses.

Read the full story here.

 

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By Ben Ingersoll

The day that Steamboat Springs High School student Paige VanArsdale’s back didn’t writhe in pain after a day of skiing is when her life on the slopes suddenly changed forever.

Since the day Paige turned 3 years old, her way of growing up in Steamboat Springs was very much like any other kid her age. When it came to sign up for soccer, her mom, Melissa, got her on a team right away. When she wanted to try horseback riding, her family put her on a horse. Paige has played volleyball, swam competitively and joined the Sailors’ girls cross country team this fall.

But unlike most high school freshman athletes, Paige has an added obstacle, one that is hard to ignore and impossible to hide.

Paige has cerebral palsy, a condition that affects brain and nervous system functions. No CP patient is the same, but all show obvious signs.

Read the full story here.

 

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By Adriana Mingo

He’s an up and coming musician on Winnipeg’s music scene, but unless you’ve seen Nic Dyson in person, you’d never guess that he has cerebral palsy.

“There’s a fine line between acknowledging it and ignoring it,” said Dyson. “I was born with it and it’s very mild. It’s not debilitating and it’s purely physical. There’s nothing wrong with my brain.”

His condition isn’t stopping him from doing what he loves, even if he was bullied because of it when he was younger.

“I was a social outcast,” said Dyson. “I didn’t talk to anybody. I had one group of guy friends and I was the social outcast of that group. I was the weakest link. I was picked on and bullied by them, but they were all that I had. So I stuck with them.”

Dyson experienced exclusion. He was picked last in gym class and not included in games. He said he understood, because he knew people thought he’d slow them down.

“I was well aware that people treated me differently,” said Dyson.

Read the full story here.

 

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