My name is James Norris with HandiCapable Fitness. HandiCapable Fitness is something I started close to a year ago. My mission is to motivate and inspire others by not only sharing my story but also the story of others who are faced with challenges but don't let that hold them back from living life to the fullest. Here is a little bit about myself and my journey.
Why I Have Cerebral Palsy
I'm 32 years old I was born in Southern California but have resided in Boston, Massachusetts for the majority of my life. I was born "normal," and at the age of four months I had hernia surgery. During the procedure, the tube that goes down your throat was not taped to my mouth. I moved during the surgery and the tube came out depriving me of oxygen for five minutes. At the time it was unclear if I was going to survive, and if I did the doctors were uncertain what my quality of life would be. By the grace of God, I survived but I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. There are many different types and severity levels when it comes to Cerebral Palsy, but mine in particular effects my legs and my left arm so my balance isn't very good and I have very limited use of my arm. As a child, I had many surgeries on my back, ankles, hips, and hamstrings. The reason for this was to try and loosen the muscles giving me more range of motion and flexibility.
Living with Cerebral Palsy
I’ve never had self-pity or asked the question … why me? Sure, I've had my fill of tough days and I still have them occasionally but I have always been ok with my circumstances for a few reasons. First and foremost my faith, and second how I was raised. My family never treated me any different. In fact they held me to high standards because they knew what I was capable of doing. Let's be honest, having Cerebral Palsy is the only thing I've ever known.
Where I am Now in my life & Why Fitness is so important
I currently live in Malden in a two-family house, and my family's apartment is on the second floor and my bedroom is on the third floor. After climbing the stairs, I found myself huffing and puffing and I knew I needed to lose weight. So, I joined a gym and now it's such a big part of my life for many different reasons. Not only did I lose 50+ pounds which in turn gave me more confidence but it also allowed me to meet so many great people.
One example is my new friend Rodney who came up to me at the gym one day and said that I inspired him- he asked if I would speak at his charity event. It was a privilege because so many people came up to me afterward and thanked me for sharing my story because it really helped them. To me, there's no better feeling than that. I now train at Mike Boyles Strength and Conditioning where I focus on building up my leg strength and the fundamentals of walking. I am proud to say I'll be getting braces and a walker in a few weeks and I'll be able to WALK!