Abraham – My Story
Written by Abraham’s mum, Sam Johnson.
Abraham (now 6) was 18 months old during the summer of 2012, because it was London the coverage of the Paralympics was extensive – which we will be forever grateful. As a family we had become fully immersed in the action and then we received a letter meant for the GP not us, saying that Abraham had cerebral palsy. We were in shock it was a Friday in August so there was no one to explain to us what it all meant for him, his future or us as a family. So we spent the weekend half mourning half realising that CP was very trendy!! When we finally had chance to speak to someone we found that his CP is not as severe as it could have been but we still faced a life of delayed development and hard work to help him reach his potential. Abraham was three when he started to walk we were thrilled we had begun to think he never would.
Where it all began
It wasn’t until he started year one at school that he started to see that he wasn’t the same as all the other children and that he couldn’t keep up with them. He hated sports and playtime. As he got taller he tired faster and used his wheelchair more. By the beginning of summer this year he hated his legs. He wanted a double amputation so that he could have running blades. He thought school was a waste of time because he struggled with every aspect and was falling behind his peers. He despised his ‘stupid’ orthopaedic boots, refused to do his Physio or OT and cried most of the time. Frantic to help him we had tried wheelchair basketball he loved it but it was too late on a school night and over an hour each way to get there. I found the continental clash road to Rio and booked tickets to go watch in Leicester. By pure chance we had booked the same hotel as all six teams. What an opportunity. Abraham watched capable strong men take care of themselves not letting their limited mobility stop them doing what they wanted/needed. He chatted with them about Physio, school, about having CP. They encouraged him to work hard in school, do his physio even when it hurts, be kind to his parents. They told us to find him a sport something to put his frustrations and energy into. We had a chance meeting with Brent Lakatos and his wife Steph Reid (we didn’t know who they were at the time!!) and received contact details and made a plan.
First go at RaceRunning
We stumbled across CP Sport and an event in Stoke Mandeville to try race running. We had to google what it was and the look on Abraham’s face was priceless when we told him he could try it. Other than watching events on TV we had never seen so many people with CP ever and for Abraham it was great. First go in the RaceRunner and he was flying. We were worried he wouldn’t come off the track in time for the next events to start. He can’t run fifty yards but put him in the race runner and he did over 400m!! He loved it. My husband and I were both stood mentally working out how we could afford and justify buying him one. Further enquiries led us to find that we could borrow one from CP Sport and we also found an athletics club close to home that came highly recommended where our other two children could train and Abraham could use the race runner. Rachel from CP Sport obliged by bringing us the race runner in time for his first night at training.
The impact of training for Abraham
Six weeks after starting to train weekly he saw his Physiotherapist and the plan was to refer him for further botox treatment. She couldn’t believe how well he was doing and asked what he was doing differently. “Race running” was the answer. He doesn’t need botox as planned. His legs have straightened and strengthened with the running he’s been doing. After training aches afterwards and can’t walk to the car but watching him each week even three months on makes my heart melt and eyes water. He recently went to the race runner training camp. Although the youngest there he worked hard and took the chance to ask lots of questions and interact with others the same as him. The benefits are unbelievable. He’s grown in confidence, is less frustrated, works hard on his physio and OT and is making huge progress at school. The players in July told us that sport will heal his heart and mind, I should never have doubted them.
Abraham’s quote “I’ll definitely be able to get a gold medal at the Paralympics now”