REAL LIFE

Her son has cerebral palsy – and a gold medal!

She couldn't be prouder of her record-breaking boy.
Natalie Hincksman

Natalie Hincksman, 43, Maslin Beach, SA

‘Well done Angus!’ I cried. My 10-year-old boy had just won a gold medal and my heart was full of pride.

Angus’ birth was extremely difficult as he became stuck during labour. Finally delivered with forceps, he was handed to me blue and floppy. I held him for a few precious moments before he was whisked away to intensive care.

My husband Stuart, 47, and 
I were devastated to learn Angus 
had suffered brain damage. He had cerebral palsy and would face a 
life of seizures, gastrointestinal problems and difficulty moving.

Starting therapy with Angus, we did as much as we could and slowly 
but surely he defied expectations and now we can’t keep up with him!

Angus having an EEG scan
Angus having an EEG scan as part of his therapy. (Credit: Natalie Hincksman)

He likes to swim and surf and has developed a love 
of running after joining me for jogs. But when his school asked if he’d like to join the cross-country team, 
I was stunned.

That’s when Novita, an organisation offering disability services for kids, suggested Angus could run in disabled categories. He was assessed as a T38 athlete, a category for those with high-functioning cerebral palsy or similar conditions. ‘I’m on a level playing field now, Mum,’ Angus explained. 
‘I have a fair chance to win.’ And he has!

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He’s earned a host of medals 
and in December last year, he smashed the School Sports Australia 800m record for ages 
10 to 12 in the T38 category, with a time of two minutes 49 seconds.

‘That means that no-one in Australia has ever been faster than you at your age!’ I beamed.

Angus has come so far.  I know he won’t let anything stop him going for gold!

Cerebral Palsy

  • Around 34,000 people in Australia have cerebral palsy. It affects one in every 400 births, making it the most common childhood physical disability.
  • Cerebral palsy is the umbrella term for a group of disorders caused by damage to the brain during birth or pregnancy. It’s more common in babies of low birth weight.
  • The condition affects how the body moves, including muscle control, balance and coordination. It can cause seizures, developmental impairments as well as sight, hearing and gastrointestinal issues.

Originally published in that’s life! Issue 7, 2016.

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