Ten-year-old Kit Van Berckel suffered brain damage at birth in May 2008, after medical staff at Harrogate Hospital failed to recognise him suffering distress during his delivery
Ten-year-old Kit Van Berckel suffered brain damage at birth in May 2008, after medical staff at Harrogate Hospital failed to recognise him suffering distress during his delivery

Family of Harrogate boy with cerebral palsy pride at his efforts ‘to put ability before disability’

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Youngster Stars In Irwin Mitchell’s ‘I am Able’ Campaign

The family of a Harrogate boy with cerebral palsy who stars in a major new campaign showcasing the abilities of individuals across the UK have spoken of their pride at how he has not let his condition define him.

Ten-year-old Kit Van Berckel suffered brain damage at birth in May 2008, after medical staff at Harrogate Hospital failed to recognise him suffering distress during his delivery.

While his cerebral palsy means he faces a range of challenges including difficulties with mobility and speech, he has been able to access therapy and technology which enable him to walk and speak. Kit and his family have worked hard to ensure he is able to have every opportunity at a healthy, active and – above all – happy life.

This determination has led to him taking centre-stage in the new ‘I am Able’ campaign from national law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is putting a spotlight on ability rather than disability and raising awareness of the progress that people have been able to make with the right specialist support.

Irwin Mitchell’s medical negligence lawyers represented Kit’s family and helped them secure a settlement that will ensure he can get the help and support, as well as equipment, he is set to need for the rest of his life.

Rachelle Mahapatra, the Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office who acts for Kit, said:

Kit is an incredible, determined young boy who has never allowed his cerebral palsy to prevent him from doing anything.

His family are truly inspirational as they have maintained a focus and commitment on ensuring he will always get the best from life. More importantly, they always consider everything he can do before thinking about what he can’t.

This idea is central to our I am Able campaign and this is why Kit was a perfect choice to be involved. Not only is he good at sports and very active, he is also achieving his goals at school.

Kit’s favourite hobbies include football. He is a member of the Adversity United team, which is a fully-inclusive disability football club for under-12s in the Harrogate area.

Joanna, Kit’s mother, said:

Kit goes to a mainstream school and really enjoys it. He is a popular member of his class and is a great achiever.  He also loves sports and his time playing for Adversity United has really had an impact on him and helped him meet some amazing friends. He has shown incredible determination and we are focused on supporting him in any way we can going forward.

Irwin Mitchell have been a huge help through the years and we are delighted to be able to take part in this I am Able campaign. It is undoubtedly sending the right message that nothing should hold anyone back from doing what they want to do.

Cameron Osburn, the Founder of Adversity United, said:

Kit’s passion for football was evident from the first day I met him at Adversity United’s trial sessions in September 2017. He has been an integral part of Adversity United since. It has been a pleasure to get to know him at training and see him grow in ability and develop his skills. Kit is always excited when he attends training, laughing and smiling whilst displaying his cheeky nature.

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