Michael first learned to ride a bike at the age of nine – a significant achievement considering the stroke he suffered at birth weakened the right side of his body. Always a determined boy who believed in goal-setting, Michael worked hard to overcome the challenges he faced in mastering the balance, skills and strength required to cycle. Once he did, he set his sights on cycling for Team Canada in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Like other children growing up, Michael did have some insecurities – especially about how he differed from other kids. In fact, rather than draw attention to his weakened right hand, he avoided shaking hands with people altogether to avoid any uncomfortable questions. However, after meeting experts at the hospital and attending a special research camp with other stroke patients, his attitude – and his physical abilities – changed.
He says he didn’t realize other people his age had also experienced perinatal stroke resulting in cerebral palsy. Finally he found people who could relate to him, enabling him to become comfortable with saying he has CP. Michael says the hospital is now a huge part of his self-identity.
This summer, Michael not only raced for Team Canada at the Paralympic games in Rio, he brought home a BRONZE MEDAL! He credits the hospital for giving him good insight into how his disability works and for helping him both in sports and in life.