João Vicente, a 7-year-old boy from Brazil, has always wanted to skateboard. But he lives with a number of health problems, including a rare autoimmune syndrome that caused a stroke, leading to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
Because of his disabilities, João’s mom, Lau Patron, feared he would never get the opportunity to skateboard. Although she tried to deter him from the activity and came up with alternatives — such as riding a tricycle — to satisfy his love of adrenaline, Vicente remained steadfast in his desire to skateboard.
Thanks to physiotherapist Stevan Pinto and psychologist Daniel Paniagua, his dream was made a reality. The pair launched the Skate Anima project, which creates skateboard adaptations that allow kids with disabilities to participate in the activity. Skate Anima made a walker that fits around Vicente, allowing him to hold on while he’s pushed on a skateboard.
Check out the video of the device in action, posted to Facebook by Amber Hickman:
“This mom wanted her son with cerebral palsy to experience the skate park!” reads the caption. “Epic parenting!”
Wow! His pure joy is so evident.
The walker was originally designed by Ricardo Oliveira, a skateboarder and father of a daughter with a disability. He invented it so his daughter could have the opportunity to skateboard with him .
“He [Ricardo] made this walker for his daughter who has a disability and we managed to bring it to the project,” Paniagua told local media in Brazil, according to Yahoo! News. “We attend all kinds of disabilities: autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy — we are open to all kinds of people.”
Here’s an image of Skate Anima in action from their Instagram, with a laughing João enjoying a ride. Patron says in a tweet re-posting this video that it captures “the first time he felt it”:
The original Facebook video from Hickman has since gone viral, racking up more than 94,000 reactions, more than 12,000 comments and more than 401,000 shares. Patron was shocked and heartened by the outpouring of support.
She has since shared her son’s story on Twitter, giving props to Skate Anima, crediting Oliveira and advocating for kids with disabilities. She says in one post, “What tools are we building so that the world belongs to everyone?”
i love sports and i love my son, who loves to experience the world and life so dawm much. he's a boy like any other, and this story is about that. what tools are we building so that the world belongs to everyone? pic.twitter.com/RAkeOi7ZvP
— Lau Patron (@PatronLau) October 22, 2019
“Going viral is insane,” she told CBS News. “I never imagined this could happen. I think it is so thrilling to see a boy like João skateboarding, happy, full of life, because we live in a sick society where we often forget the purpose of being here.”
Kudos to this supportive mom and those that helped her make her son’s wish come true!