My nephew Parker, was born 10 weeks early along with his twin brother Cooper. Hours after birth Parker began having seizures, and a few days later Parker was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
Over the last 4 years Parker has attended CPEC (Cerebral Palsy Education Centre) and has achieved huge developmental gains. Starting with building up strength in his hands to hold objects, developing his core body muscles so he can hold his head up, to now building and developing his ability to go from sitting to standing, lying to sitting, and gaining a huge grasp on aided language by using his communication book. (PODD system)
Every day is a battle for Parker to make his body do what he wants it to, but with the help from the team at CPEC and his family, he is learning to work with his body and become more independent.
Parker’s older brothers are all involved in a different range of team sports and Parker is always there on the side lines cheering them on. But now its time to give Parker the opportunity to be the sports star he deserves to be.
I was shown a video of Dick and Rick Hoyt (link below and please watch), a father and son who have competed in Marathons and Triathlons. Since completing their first 5 mile fun run, they have gone on to compete in over 1000 marathons, triathlons, and biathlons. This also include competing in the Hawaiian Ironman multiple times. Rick is able to communicate through a sophisticated computer which tracks his eye movement. One of the first things he told his dad was “When I’m running, it feels like my disability disappears.” This inspired me to think everyone deserves a chance to feel the joy of being involved in sport, to be a competitor.
It has led to me and my great friend and fellow AFL Umpire, Shaun Ryan, starting a foundation called “The Buddy Up Project”.
The aim is to give people of all ages with a disability the opportunity to be involved in sport when they may have never had the chance to in the past.
Participants will “Buddy Up” with a runner to train for events. Your donations will help purchase custom made running chairs that are made in the US that will allow participants to experience the joy we all experience from being healthy and active.
The first project involves Parker. Our aim is to have Parkercompete in his first running event at Run Geelong on the 18th of November 2018. It is a 10km fun run and I intend on being his buddy for the run. This will involve training together as well.
To make this happen I’m looking for your support, the custom made running chair that we need has to be imported from the US. This will ensure Parker has the most suitable and comfortable experience each time he competes. Any donation whatsoever will be greatly appreciated and will go towards the purchase of Parker’s running chair.
I look forward to keeping you all updated as to how Parker’s training is coming along and how his first fun run goes. Once again thanks so much for taking the time to read this and for taking an interest in Parker’s journey.
Dick and Rick Hoyt Hawi Ironman
Jimmy V Perseverance Award
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