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Christopher's Story

“ErinoakKids is the reason Christopher walks today.”

When Sylvia gave birth to Christopher, he was only 26 weeks old. She raised her newborn son mostly alone, as all of her family lives back at home in India. Other than her husband, she found herself longing for someone to turn to.

Being a first time Mom and navigating the birth of her premature son was, at times, more than she could handle. During this tough period, Sylvia found comfort in ErinoakKids’ social workers and therapists from speech therapy, to physiotherapy, to occupational therapy.

“These people were all a part of my family. They helped me raise my son.”

When Christopher was very little, doctors outside of ErinoakKids told him he would never be able to walk on his own. But once she began her and Christopher’s journey at ErinoakKids, all of that changed. 

“Christopher’s therapist never gave him a hard time when he used to bite and pinch her,” recalls Sylvia. “She graced him with so much patience and understanding. I remember her saying to me, ‘Sylvia, this kid can walk!’ And she encouraged me to stick to it.”

Sylvia spent hours doing physiotherapy exercises, stretches and regimens with Christopher. Then, it happened. Christopher took his first four steps at ErinoakKids, in front of his mother and therapist.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says Sylvia. “I remember how sure doctors were that he would be in a wheelchair his whole life. If his therapist didn’t believe that Christopher could walk, he would probably still be wheelchair-bound. ErinoakKids is the reason Christopher walks today.” 

As Christopher grew up, he began getting bullied at school. He found it difficult expressing his negative experiences with his Mom, but did find himself confiding in his physician at ErinoakKids. His physician shared this with Sylvia, and suggested Cruisers, an adaptive sports program for individuals with disabilities, as an outlet she could see Christopher thriving in. 

So Sylvia signed him up. He was the youngest in his cohort, and his natural gift for basketball started to shine. Through Cruisers, Christopher was chosen to do the ball drop at a Raptors vs. Miami Heat game. At just 11 years old, he discovered a passion for basketball, and feels like himself when he is on the court.


Christopher also preaches at his church, after discovering his gift for public speaking. He often shares his experiences through scripture at his local church. His Mom describes him as a “boy who has no stagefright,” and has since excelled in speaking in different community settings. His favourite thing to speak about is inclusion in sport and life, and his right to play. 

Christopher is flourishing in school and feels confident and settled in his athletic talents and ability to speak in front of a crowd. And he is grateful to ErinoakKids for helping him get here. 

“There are a lot of life-changing people at ErinoakKids. Christopher would not be the same without the place,” says Sylvia. “And as for me, I don’t like being called an advocate for Christopher. Standing behind him is not only my duty as a mother, but what I believe to be my life’s calling.”

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