Cerebral Palsy is a neuromuscular disease that affects 1 in 345 children in the United States alone. Marc Berlin is one of these people who was born and raised with the debilitating ailment. Although it’s been a difficult journey, he hasn’t let CP stop him from helping change the world. Marc educated us on Cerebral Palsy, what it was like growing up with it, and how he now works with several non-profits that support Americans with disabilities.
Marc had what many would consider to be a tougher child hood than most. His disability caused him a lot of hardship as Marc explains, “Growing up with Cerebral Palsy was a challenge. I had an extreme limp on my right side, so running was difficult. Sometimes, kids in lower school would make fun of me for it.” As he got older his condition began to worsen and eventually demand outside interference, “I had to put twelve screws in my body over the course of three months. It was very painful and difficult but like everything, you learn to overcome” he said. Marc is able to look back on his surgeries and see the bright side, “If it wasn't for that procedure, I wouldn't have gone into human resources working on adaptations with Americans with Disabilities Act. And if it weren’t for that experience I wouldn’t have gone on to get my masters in healthcare administration, and eventually a working with nonprofit agencies, helping adults with developmental disabilities” he said.
Coping with Cerebral Palsy Every Day
After the year 2020, like the rest of us, Marc found himself having put on a couple pounds. He started working out at a gym and luckily found a trainer that has helped him like no one else before. “I was fortunate to find a trainer to work out with, and she has helped me expand my right side as well as do things I never thought I could” he said. So far Marc has lost 30 lbs and doesn’t plan on taking his foot off the gas any time soon. As far as role models go, Marc has several notable ones, aside from his mother of course. “Jim Abbott was a one handed pitcher who through a no hitter for the New York Yankees in 1993. I was fortunate enough to speak to him on the phone. I really admire his courage and his ability as well as his passion” said Marc.
Although it’s been what man would consider to be a difficult ride, Marc hasn’t let it stop him from moving forward. From overcoming bullying due to his condition to having to go through various surgeries, he has continued to persevere and find himself getting better everyday. Marc’s advice for people who find themselves in a similar position to his own are to not let fear stop you from moving forward. “Don't be afraid to make mistakes…surround yourself with good people that will support you and encourage you” he said. When asked for some final words of wisdom, Marc quoted one of his idols Jim Valvano, “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”