By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Growing in his first years of life in extreme poverty, and lack of resources for proper hygiene habits for a newborn, Henrique came down with illness just one month after being born. The young baby got diagnosed with osteomyelitis, bone inflammation caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.
Young João spent the first three years of his life in treatment, however, the drugs were unable to control the disease and a decision had to be made to stop the progression of the disease, his legs had to be amputated from the knee down.
A neighbor that had some more means that his birth mother, offered himself as an adoptive father of the child, in the hope of providing him with a better future and from there, his life took a huge turn for the better. João lived in a loving home in which he learned how to cope with his disability and the impact it has on his life, this did not stop him for living a plentiful youth that got him to jump on his first skateboard by the age of 18 when he saw some friends skating in one and he asked if he could try, he has been skating ever since.
He skated a lot with the skateboard his friends had but one day was taken by surprise when they gathered money and got him his own! He started going to the Parque da Juventude in São Bernardo. He became part of a social project offered by the park and he was then able to skate at least once a week and develop his skills.
He recalls how his adoptive mother at the time was very scared of him getting hurt on the board since she was very protective of him, but this did not stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming an inspiration for other kids with disabilities that wanted to learn how to skate.
Real Passion Has No Limits
In 2016, João Henrique became the champion of the Paraskate Championship in Rio de Janeiro, an event that supports athletes of extreme sports with a disability promoting skaters, BMX and event events held in wheelchairs.
He became the sensation and gained a lot of respect because he did not let his disability get in the way of developing the skills necessary to win the championship and stand out from other athletes with similar difficulties.
But skateboarding was not the first approach Henrique had with physical activity, his involvement with sports began in 2003, playing basketball in a wheelchair, discipline he practiced for 5 years! He also practiced karate, and at age 30 he is currently a dance teacher and has been skateboarding for over 10 years.
“You are your true motivation, believe, fight, persist.”
Brazil has many names and stories that we could mention, David Teixeira, from Rio de Janeiro that was born with a malformation of his arms and legs but at the age of 10, skates, participates in competitions and surfs, like him, we have Ruan Felipe, Vinícius Sardi and of course, professional skater Og de Souza who is pioneer of skate using his hands, he is currently one of the most respected “paraskaters” in the world, even getting a chance to participate in the world paraskate championship in Germany, where he took second place and the prize for best trick.
There you have it my dudes and dudettes, sometimes we complain heavily on very small things, these guys have not let ANYTHING stop them, why should you? RESPECT to these dudes that have been inspiring other skaters for many years now and many more to come!