My name is Gaurav Thakkar. I’m nineteen years old and an I.T. student at Melbourne Polytechnic. When I was a baby I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and the treatment for it, included inserting a tube (shunt) surgically into a ventricle to drain excess fluid. Due to the build-up of the fluid in the brain, there was pressure put on the brain itself. This ongoing pressure damaged the right side of my brain and cut off the healthy flow of oxygen and blood to the brain. This brain injury became the basis of my Cerebral Palsy diagnosis.
I was born in India in 2001 and I came to Australia in 2006 when I was five years old. It was when I came to Australia that I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. When I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, it also led to me having physical disabilities, vision impairment (lazy eye), and/or difficulty with any body movement and muscle coordination problems. When I was younger, I didn’t really know what Cerebral Palsy was or how it affected my life, and to be honest I didn’t pay any attention to it. It was when I was in Year 8 that I started paying attention to my Cerebral Palsy and how it impacted my life, as this was the year that I started having epilepsy attacks. Whenever I had those epilepsy attacks, I was in a stiff position and I felt like, I couldn’t move the left side of my body, it felt like I was paralyzed. It was a miracle of God or whatever you want to call it, that my epilepsy attacks didn’t last for a long time as I had my final attack in 2017. As I grew older, I felt like my body was getting weaker, I couldn’t stand, run, or walk for long periods of time. So, I decided to go and see a doctor who specialized in problems related to the nervous system. The doctor suggested that I should start going to the gym, to build strength, flexibility, and coordination and reduce the severity of my cerebral palsy. I knew there was no cure for Cerebral Palsy but I had enough of it, so I decided right that instance that If I can’t cure it, at least I can try and improve it, and maintain it by going to the gym. So, I joined the gym right next day so I could live a better and healthier life. It’s been more than a year since I have joined the gym and I have seen some improvements in myself since then, physically and mentally. I have become a bit more positive in life and I have gained a bit of more strength in my body. Due to COVID, I have tried to maintain my strength, flexibility, and coordination at home by doing the home-based exercises that I received from the physiotherapist. Just waiting and praying that this is all over soon, so I can back to the gym and get back into action!
I’m thrilled to join CP-Achieves’ advisory group and excited to meet new people living with Cerebral Palsy and their experience living with it. I’m looking forward to sharing my ideas and opinions in relation to improving an individual’s life who is living with Cerebral Palsy.