When seven-year-old João Vicente told his mom he dreamed of riding a skateboard, she made the impossible, possible.
At just one year and eight months old, João Vicente from Curitiba, the largest city in the Brazilian state of Paraná, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after suffering a major stroke. Ever since then, his doting mother Avante Leaozinho has been right by his side, making sure he gets all the help, care, attention, and love he needs. In a recent viral video uploaded to social media platform Instagram, she reinforced just how dedicated she was to making sure João got to experience all the things that "regular" kids do, which includes skateboarding. The video displays her son skateboarding up and down ramps with the help of a super cool skateboard built especially for him.
The heartbreaking caption of the video, roughly translated to English, reads, "My son is seven years old. He is a boy full of wills, desires, [and] dreams. One of [those dreams] for a long time was skateboarding... [But] for children who have cerebral palsy, or any other kind of disability, having desires and dreams is not allowed. The world is always telling us no. We must not, we cannot, it will not work, there is no adaptation. We do not belong." Avante, of course, noted how difficult it can be to raise a disabled child, but more importantly, how challenging it can be to grow up disabled in a world that does not cater to you. The simple desire to ride a skateboard was made almost impossible because of João's cerebral palsy, which should definitely not be the case.
Therefore, like any selfless mother, Avante set out to make his dream come true despite all the upward battles they would have to face along the way. She explained, "For a long time I tried to give João his dream of skateboarding through other means. We tried bikes, walkers, electric skates (which I do not recommend to people who, like me, are able to trip on their own feet). Nonetheless, nothing worked. Until I met two amazing guys and was introduced to their skateboarding project. Daniel Paniagua and Stevan Pinto, a physiotherapist and a psychologist, could not help but aid another young girl with cerebral palsy to achieve her dreams. She wanted the same thing as João: skateboarding."
So the terrific trio set out on the challenge of DIYing a kickass skateboard for the little seven-year-old, and eventually, they built a skateboard that João was able to use and finally experience skateboarding on. Avante explained, "They invented, built, and found a way to make the impossible, possible, and since then have fulfilled the dreams of many people, including João... We are transforming what is normal, what belongs, who belongs, and what is possible... Thank you for taking my lion for a ride." The video has gone viral since it was first uploaded, gaining attention from individuals across the world. It has been viewed over 23,000 times and has inspired users everywhere. Seeing João's face light up at the end of the video is an important reminder about why it's necessary to make absolutely everyone feel included - even those who have disabilities.