By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Joao Vicente is a kid of 7 years old from Brazil who is a curious, happy boy that likes to feel the adrenaline. And despite of his condition, all of his life he wanted to skate, and he did it.
Joao Fighting Life
Joao endured health problems having only 20 months of life. He was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune syndrome which made his body collapse and caused him a severe stroke. This later turned into a cerebral palsy. His mom was a publicist, but in order to take care of her son she was forced to quit her job. Joao´s skills were improving and he asked his mom one day if he could skate, but she was just changing the topic everytime and trying to replace the desire for skateboarding with other stuff, because she thought he wouldn’t be able to do it.
Dreams Really Come True
All of that changed when someone in Brazil started to think how skateboarding could be accessible for people with any disability. Physiotherapist Stevan Pinto and psychologist Daniel Paniagua started the Skate Anima Project, which had the objective of designing skateboard adaptations, allowing children with different disabilities to skate. They built a type of Walker that fits around Joao so he could hold on while being push on a skateboard by someone. The device was created by Ricardo Oliveira, a skater and a father. He has a daughter with a disability also, so he invented a walker for her so she could enjoy skating with him. Then he sold the design to Skate Anima, which inspired of his design to create Joao´s.
Joao’s mother Patron, goes once a month to skate with the Skate Anima, she realized that a lot of people were viewing the videos she uploaded and later made the headlines in Brazil and U.S. She was shocked of how her son was going viral, a thing she would never imagine was going to happen. Patron hopes that her son’s history show to the world that the disabled are not the problem, but that society is. She is now trying to put together an inclusive skating championship with the collaboration of Skate Anima, so all kids can participate, without being judged.
Joao is just like any kid that wants to experience the world, and his happinness must not be stopped by anything or anyone, just like the happinness of any kid that has dreams. Skateboarding is now part of his life and no one can say otherwise, he skates and he loves it.
Read also: Skateboarding In Brasília