I’ve Been Burned: How I Became the Cerebral Palsy Vigilante

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Training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) requires much hard work. Effort that proves worthwhile. Rewarding even! Personally, one such reward came surprisingly via a Team IBB sponsorship. IBB stands for I’ve been burned.

With James Schleicher, the man behind the IBB movement.

Meet James Schleicher, the man behind the IBB movement.

Honestly, I never envisioned the term “sponsored athlete” describing me. Heck, for a very long time “athlete” remained a stretch. Specifics I will delve into momentarily. First though, let me explain the IBB philosophy.

I’ve Been Burned

IBB the acronym and IBB Inc. the company begins with James Schleicher. Or, as Off Balanced readers know him “The Real Life Zack Morris.” So maybe you thought “IBB… that sounds familiar.” There you go.

Anyways a malice financial advisor once duped the Schleicher family. Afterwards James made “I’ve been burned” his mantra. He vowed to become the trusted financial advisor his family previously sought. To prevent others from suffering the same burns his family endured!

James achieved and continues to sustain said goal. Actually his success stirred a stronger desire to help others. Establishing Team IBB stands one way to fulfill his ambition.

I’ve Been Burned, Too

Reflecting on my own life, I identified parallels with James. I realized I too been burned. My burns extend back to popular disability perceptions. Or, I should say popular disability misconceptions.

These misconceptions wreak havoc on people with disabilities and their families. Suddenly well-meaning individuals transform into thieves. Opportunity the item snatched away. Hence for me the description “athlete” seemed a stretch for a very long time.

Swimming lessons resemble the closest activity to organized sports I participated in growing up. Those eventually stopped when a swim instructor determined I could not pass to the next level. A chance to prove myself by repeating the prior level never surfaced. An injustice, if you ask me.

Maybe a second or third try would see the improvement I needed. Who knows? Add to the “What if” list.

Anyhow, I do know I am glad I kept to my half marathon training. Despite in August 2014 when I initially started seriously training I exhausted after 4.3 miles. Less than one-third my desired goal! A fact possessing the potential to beg me, “Give up! Most people couldn’t complete a half marathon. You? You have cerebral palsy. Give up!”

Enter the Cerebral Palsy Vigilante

The Cerebral Palsy Vigilante after setting a new personal best at Helping Hands Hero Run 5k.

Recently I participated in the Helping Hands Hero Run 5k. I completed the 5k in a Batman mask in-part to honor my “Cerebral Palsy Vigilante” nickname.

Thankfully I maintained enough foresight to focus on short-term goals. Besides exhausted the 4.3-mile walk left me feeling satisfied. I surpassed my original short-term goal to walk the equivalent to a 5k (3.1 miles).

Continued progress deepened my drive. Meanwhile I gained a new moniker, Cerebral Palsy Vigilante. James bestowed the name upon me. Beyond sounding cool, the nickname contains a mission. Fight injustices disability misconceptions cause. Similar to how Batman battles injustices in Gotham.

Fittingly additional similarities emerge when considering Batman’s backstory. Like James and I, Bruce Wayne been burned. To address the injustice he became Batman. Likewise James became the trusted financial advisor and I the Cerebral Palsy Vigilante.

Please join me in my mission to dispel disability misconceptions. Use the form below and subscribe to my blog. Together we will seek the possible.

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