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Who Made You The Judge

Carlos was born in Monterrey, Mexico. He was a twin, born prematurely at five and a half months; unfortunately, his twin did not survive. Carlos’ heart and lungs were underdeveloped, which caused a lack of oxygen, resulting in damage to his brain and a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy (CP).

CP is the most common physical disability. It is linked to abnormal brain development or brain injury during pregnancy, delivery, or shortly after birth. The parts of the body affected, the severity, and the combination of symptoms differ from person to person. There are five major types of CP. Spastic Cerebral Palsy is the most common, and the type Carlos has. It limits movement due to muscle stiffness and spasms caused by the messages to the muscles being sent incorrectly through the damaged part of the brain. Some people are affected on one side, others just their legs, but for Carlos, it’s all his muscles. Continuous intensive physiotherapy, exercise, and surgery have increased Carlos’ mobility but have not lessened the stiffness, spasms, or chronic pain.

Carlos Gonzalez

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In Mexico, in the ‘80s, most families were ashamed to have a person with disabilities at home. The majority lived in institutions. Carlos’s family was different. They were determined to acknowledge his disability but raise him at home, just like their other two children. Carlos experienced bullying because others saw him as vulnerable, intensifying his existing insecurities. However, Carlos was surrounded by family and friends who loved, encouraged, and believed in him. He had a beautiful childhood with his loving family.

Carlos knew he eventually wanted to live on his own. At eight years old, he started thinking about how he could work towards a more independent life; this would be an enormous challenge and would require overcoming significant obstacles. Carlos learned to walk, with a walker, at age five. He knew crutches would further his independence but had been told it was impossible. Despite this, at 11, with determination, tenacity, and a positive mindset, Carlos learned to walk with crutches. The process was challenging, frustrating, and physically painful, but Carlos persevered and was triumphant.

Daily tasks that most of us take for granted take extra time and energy for people with CP. For example, it takes Carlos five minutes to put socks and shoes on. Carlos also finds putting on bed sheets and cooking challenging to conquer. Consequently, anything that would make it easier for Carlos to live independently was necessary for his success. He needed to live in a place with more infrastructure and resources for disabled people. 

At nineteen, with the support of his family, Carlos came to Canada for six months to study English. He lived with a host family during this time and quickly knew he wanted to settle in Canada. Carlos stayed, got his Bachelor of Arts from Kings University, and moved into his home independently. He was living his dream.

Potential employers often saw Carlos’ disability and judged him before considering him. Some assumed because of his physical disability; he would also have cognitive disabilities. Others were concerned that walking with crutches would limit his potential. Carlos eventually found a job he loves at Cerebral Palsy Alberta, where he is treated equally. Carlos is a public speaker and co-hosts a podcast, “My Life Without Limits,” focused on honest perspectives from the disability community.

The obstacles that Carlos has faced have made an incredible impact on how he lives his life. They motivate him to grow, learn and improve continuously. He enjoys challenges and is determined and driven while being patient and having a sense of humor about himself and his disability. He celebrates when he overcomes something and moves past negativity quickly to stay focused on his goals. Quitting is never an option for Carlos. 

Carlos is passionate about disability awareness; he dreams of an inclusive future where able-bodied people are open to learning and accepting people with disabilities. He wants to travel the world sharing his story.

“I hope my story will help change lives.” - Carlos Gonzalez

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