Running A Half Marathon With Cerebral Palsy: How I Defy The Odds

Clem Onojeghuo
Clem Onojeghuo

Born at one pound and ten ounces, my mom calls me her “Miracle Baby”.

“I didn’t know what Cerebral Palsy meant. My mind went to wheel chair and not being able to speak. I had no idea what to expect.” This was my mom’s first thought when I was born three months premature. My mom tells everyone that I could fit inside the palm of your hand. She also described the sight of me as “a plucked chicken with no feathers”.

I was in the NICU for the first three months of my life. I was in an incubator with tubes going through my tiny body. Surgeries, tests, and the complete unknown were just a taste of what my family experienced. Doctors told my mom that they would not know about the progression of my Cerebral Palsy any further, until I was older.

I have a neurologist and a general family doctor that I go to. I have a neurosurgeon that I go to also, but I rarely actually see him. I have seizures, as a side effect of my Cerebral Palsy. That being said, I take medication to help control them. Given that I have the possibility of having seizures, when I wanted to run a half marathon, I needed each doctor’s approval. Being the optimist I am, I thought every doctor would have no issue with it. Every doctor approved it.

“Can you run?”

“Yes.”

“Then go run your half marathon”.

There was nothing medically wrong to hold me back from partaking in a half marathon. My mom wanted to run a half marathon and told me, “If I run it, then you have to also.” So with my doctors’ approvals and own desire, on October 11th, 2012, I ran in the Long Beach Half Marathon. I got a time of two hours and forty-two minutes. My mom and I ran our very first half marathon together.

My mom believes in me, supports me, and roots me on with everything I set out to accomplish. She encouraged me to run the half marathon. We already were close before, but running with her has brought us closer. We connect and bond over being healthy.

My mom has a disabled kid. Yes, that is technically true, but she does not treat me like I am disabled. I can walk, run, swim, and do everything any able-bodied person can do, although it may just take me a bit longer to accomplish certain tasks. My mom took my disability and catapulted it to a whole new level of how I can inspire others. She let me join the swim team in high school and saw how I could inspire others in that capacity. Running half marathons with my mom is just another “Mother/Son” bond that we have.

She inspires mothers all over who have premature children to be confident and to believe in their child’s full potential. My mom found out that her premature baby had Cerebral Palsy and did not let that stop her from giving her son opportunity to live up to his full potential. I may inspire people by running half marathons, but my mother inspires others by how she encourages, supports and sees the potential in me, despite obstacles that may be in my way. My mom is the true inspiration. TC mark

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