World Cerebral Palsy Day is a movement of people with cerebral palsy and their families in more than 50 countries, which this year takes place today on Wednesday 5th October 2016.
Held since 2012, originally as the ‘Change My World in 1 Minute’ campaign, the day is held on the first Wednesday of each October and is coordinated by the World Cerebral Palsy Initiative, a group of non-profit cerebral palsy (CP) organisations with a global vision to create real change for people living with CP.
Jonathan Adams, World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) director and ambassador, was born with CP which affects all four of his limbs, particularly on his left-hand side. He has not let this stop him from pursuing his dreams however, competing at the London 2012 Paralympics for Great Britain, as well as playing a key part in the development of the WDBS during the past 12 months.
On the playing side, we have too seen a number of players with CP take part, including Gloucester winner Daniel Blunn, who we recently featured during our classification guide for Group 3 players. Peter Hull from Uxbridge first joined us for the WDBS Manchester Classic, as well as Andy Johnson who took victory in the Group 4/5 event back in March.
A player who will be returning for the upcoming 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship is Andy Harper from St Helens. Known as ‘snookerfanatic’ on social media, he first fell in love with the sport back in 2001, watching the late Paul Hunter famously come back to win the first of his three Masters titles at Wembley.
He recently told us of the challenges of playing the game for somebody with CP, but how he has overcome these and the sense of achievement that he has gained as a result.
“I feel that for someone with CP, snooker is not one of the easiest sports to get into but is definitely one of the most rewarding,” said Harper. “The fundamentals of snooker are a strong bridge and a comfortable stance. These are difficult with CP and to achieve them requires a great deal of work off the table focusing on hand strength and inner core. The bridge especially took a lot of work and needless to say I became quite proficient with the spider.
“I now compete in the first division of the St Helens snooker league with able bodied players and to post the good results that I do has given me tremendous social confidence and satisfaction.”
The 25-year-old is now looking forward to returning to Gloucester in less than a fortnight and reflected on his WDBS debut at last year’s edition of the event.
“It was great to be able to play on a level playing field and to see everybody enjoying themselves as much as they were,” said Harper. “There was a good atmosphere going and overall I would say that the event was top drawer. Everyone was really nice to each other, chatting and sharing a joke, but when we were at the table it was time to get the game going.”
The 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship takes place from 14-16 October 2016 at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.
You can learn more about World Cerebral Palsy Day at https://worldcpday.org/