Cerebral Palsy doesn’t stop me doing the things I love

For 50 weeks of the year I’m a platform diver…… the other two weeks I spend skiing in St Anton am Arlberg, Austria with my parents and a group of our friends.

Skiing and the mountains have been a massive part of my life since the moment I was born – literally! Being born in Germany, my first trip across the border was at 5 months old! My parents and some of our friends have been going to St Anton for 30+ years.

Skiing with Cerebral Palsy (CP) is very difficult and I do struggle! When I was younger, I used to go into Ski School, but I hated this as the ski instructors would often have a large class and I couldn’t keep up. For the last 10 years, I’ve had a private ski instructor which has worked out better as I can work at my own pace.  I’ve made some really good friends there and often keep in touch with the instructors who are from all over Europe.

I go slowly down the slopes and I fall over occasionally but always carry on. I’ve certainly had a few injuries over the years including: concussion when I was 8 years old, bleeding on my knee cap last year and this year I fell over and pulled a ligament in my foot – every skiing holiday is eventful!

The group of friends we go with our really supportive of my skiing and I’ll ski with them occasionally if they are doing easy runs. The other times, I’d see them at the end of the day for Après-Ski and then we’d try and all eat out together.

Myself and my friend Julia are the only young adults in the group. We’ve been going together since we were a year old.

This year we were presented with our 20-year Golden Eagle badge and certificate from the Tourist Office. At 20 and 21 years of age we are the two youngest to have been awarded this honour.

Evenings are usually spent in different bars to our parents! I have a friend Max who works in one of the cocktail bars so we usually ended up there.  Max’s father used to be a ski guide for the group many years ago, Max and I first met when we were about a year old though obviously neither of us remember that.

It’s recently been Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day and I love saying that my CP hasn’t stopped me attempting to do things that I love. Diving is my passion but nothing beats the mountain air and the snow!

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Maddy Hopson

BA Sport Development, Student Ambassador. Platform Diver and Coach. Part-time Skier. Ambassador for CP Teens UK. Patron of North London Aquatics.

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