Canadian Skier Dedicates Gold Medal to Brother With Cerebral Palsy
As the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics come to a close, Canadian skier Alex Bilodeau took the opportunity to dedicate his gold medal to his brother, Frederic, who suffers from cerebral palsy. Alex had a “perfect run” on Monday in the Men’s Freestyle Ski Event; he is also the first Canadian to take home two gold medals in his event after winning his first in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Even Alex called his performance the “best run” of his career, but what happened next touched the hearts of many. Upon completing his run, he skied over to his brother in the stands, whom he calls his biggest inspiration. As someone who has represented the families of children born with CP, I was particularly touched by this display of brotherly affection and love.
Cerebral Palsy: Life-Altering Neurological Disorders
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a set of neurological disorders that permanently affect bodily movement and muscle coordination. Although much remains unknown about the causes of CP, evidence from research strongly suggests that infections, birth injuries, poor oxygen supply to the fetal brain before, during and immediately after delivery, and severe illness caused by trauma can result in CP. Cerebral Palsy is a serious motor condition, which experts say is neither genetic nor a medical condition, but often arises at the time of birth as a result of fetal distress during delivery. Children with CP will typically require long-term care from numerous medical, psychological and educational professionals, including pediatricians to oversee plans of care, pediatric neurologists to treat neurological disorders in children, orthopedists who can treat muscle and bone disorders, occupational therapists to help with everyday activities and use of adaptive products to live, developmental therapists to help with social and interpersonal skills and age-appropriate behaviors, social workers who assist families with accessing services and transitional care, and special education teachers to address learning disabilities and determine educational needs and resources. Clearly, children with CP require an abundance of care that are effective, but costly. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that the cost of care for a child with CP is about $1 million over the course of their lifetime.
Olympians’ Brother Doesn’t Let CP Get Him Down
Despite all of the apparent complications related to a life with cerebral palsy, Alex’s brother doesn’t let his condition get him down. In fact, Alex says that his brother is his biggest inspiration in pursuing a second gold medal because of his unwavering positive attitude. He stated:
“The motivation that he has, if he had had the chances like I did, he would have been four times Olympic champion. He’s a great inspiration, a great person and he’s going to be an inspiration for me after my career also,” Bilodeau told NBC. “I always complain, and he has every reason in the world to complain and he never does. And why is that? He enjoys life, he takes the best out of it.”
This isn’t the first time the Olympian has spoken kind words about his beloved brother. In 2010, he also stated:
“Every day I feel lucky to be a normal person who has that chance to go after his dream. He does not have that chance. And for respect to him, I need to go after that,” he told the outlet. “Every step is so hard for him in life and I have an easy path and I need to go after and do the best I can just out of respect to him.”
Congratulations to Alex on his gold medal, and much support to him and his brother.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.