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Andrew’s Blog

Mom’s Story

Mom’s Story: Andrew was a perfectly healthy baby and for the first six months of his life. On a day like any other, he went down for a nap and woke up with a fever in the afternoon. Through the night, his fever climbed higher and he became so weak, he could not cry. After several calls to the physician, we went to the emergency room with Andrew. They did all kinds of tests but could not find anything wrong with him. They sent us home but something didn’t seem right. Andrew was so weak, he could not lift his head and could barely open his eyes. He had lost most of the function in his arms and legs. After going back to the hospital for more testing, they diagnosed viral encephalitis. The encephalitis brought upon swelling of the brain which caused the Cerebral Palsy. The doctors could not tell us what functions Andrew would get back. It was a wait and see game.

Andrew slowly recovered the function in his arms and hands but we could tell there was something wrong with his legs. He struggled to crawl and stand, and at two years of age, he slowly began to walk with a walker. He was seen at the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, MA and fit for braces (AFO’s). He had difficulty with balance, fell constantly and crawled most of the time to get where he wanted to go. I bought him knee pads to help him navigate his surroundings and spare his knees. He learned to walk in his own “special way” and has never looked back.

Because Andrew was always the last one to finish the running race with his peers, I thought that if he could learn to ski, he would find a freedom he had never known. When Andrew was seven and his brother Ryan was five, we hit the slopes. When Ryan learned how to ski after one lesson, Andrew wanted to know why he could not do it. It broke my heart but we kept on trying. After several attempts at skiing, I began to have my doubts.  Andrew, however, never gave up. I skied with a pole that Andrew held onto for support, while his brother skied next to us. After three years of skiing like this, and many adaptive ski lessons, we had success. Andrew was now an independent skier and there was no stopping him. We used to wait for him but now he waits for us.  My heart soars every time I watch him ski.

Andrew has learned to live with his Cerebral Palsy. He has mastered skiing, snowboarding, water skiing, wheelchair tennis, baseball and kayaking to name a few. He is a very determined individual and he will keep on trying until he figures out how to accomplish his goals.  Congratulations Andrew! Keep up the good work.