Kit van Berckel, 11, suffered brain damage at birth in May 2008 after medical staff at Harrogate Hospital failed to recognise that he was suffering distress during birth
Kit van Berckel, 11, suffered brain damage at birth in May 2008 after medical staff at Harrogate Hospital failed to recognise that he was suffering distress during birth
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Harrogate youngster with cerebral palsy “lives life to the full” despite challenges of condition

Family Hope To Inspire Others In Lead Up To World Cerebral Palsy Day A youngster from Harrogate with cerebral palsy is “living life to the full” despite the daily challenges he faces as a result of his disability.

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Family Hope To Inspire Others In Lead Up To World Cerebral Palsy Day – 6 October 2019.

A youngster from with cerebral palsy is “living life to the full” despite the daily challenges he faces as a result of his disability.

Kit van Berckel, 11, suffered brain damage at birth in May 2008 after medical staff at failed to recognise that he was suffering distress during birth.

He was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which affects his mobility and speech. However, with access to physiotherapy and technology to help him speak, Kit is healthy and happy.  He also has a full-time care package.

Earlier this year, Kit became a star of a major new television campaign from national law firm Irwin Mitchell entitled I am Able.  This raises awareness of the progress that can be made by people with disabilities with the right specialist support.

Irwin Mitchell’s medical negligence lawyers represent 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.

Kit and his family are now joining with their legal team to share his story as part of World Cerebral Palsy Day, which takes place on 6 October.

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

Kit is a lovely young man who shows incredible determination in getting the best out of life.

He is such an inspiration and doesn’t let his disability stop him from doing anything.

World Cerebral Palsy Day is important to raise awareness of the condition, and by sharing Kit’s story we hope that others will see what can be achieved when you set your mind to it.

Oliver and Kit
Oliver and Kit

Kit goes to mainstream school and loves playing football in a walker, as a member of the Adversity United team, which is a disability football club for under 12s in the Harrogate area. He has recently taken up sit-skiing at Snozone in Castleford and loves rollercoasters which he enjoyed on a recent family holiday in Florida.



Joanna van Berckel, Kit’s mother, said:

We are all so proud of Kit and he inspires us all on a daily basis.

As he gets older, his adventurous spirit is really shining through, especially since going to Florida and going on the rides.  He loves adrenaline and is totally fearless!

He has also taken up sit-skiing recently and gave that 10 out of 10.

He doesn’t let anything stand in his way and it is so heart-warming to see how happy he is.  He is definitely living life to the full.

With World Cerebral Palsy Day approaching, I really hope his story inspires others with the condition not to let anything hold them back from doing what they want to do.

In addition to Kit’s “inspiring” progress, his younger brother Oliver has been nominated and shortlisted for a Yorkshire Children of Courage Award in the Young Carer category.

World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Day is on Sunday, 6 October. The aim of the awareness raising day is to ensure that children and adults with cerebral palsy have the same rights, access and opportunities as anyone else in our society.

There are an estimated 30,000 children with cerebral palsy in the UK. It is often caused by injuries during birth and leaves those affected with varying conditions that affect muscle control and movement. They may also have learning difficulties,
epilepsy and communication difficulties.





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