I wasn't expected to survive to adulthood - now I'm competing in the Great North Run — Scope | Disability forum
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I wasn't expected to survive to adulthood - now I'm competing in the Great North Run

Richard_Scope Posts: 3,614 Scope online community team

(left to right) Robert Bate and his friend John Gilbert (Image: Irwin Mitchell)

A man assaulted so severely as a child doctors did not expect him to survive will take part in one of the most famous runs in the world. Robert Bate, 28, defied the odds to even reach adulthood and will now compete in this year's Great North Run.

The assault left Robert with a severe brain injury and cerebral palsy. He has issues controlling his limbs and muscles, sight problems, and difficulties speaking and swallowing. Despite the hurdles and years of being in a wheelchair, his mobility has greatly improved, so much that the Lichfield man will take part in the Great North Run on September 10.

Armed with a running chair Robert already takes part in park runs and will join the annual half marathon in September. Robert said: "Growing up with a brain injury hasn't been easy as I became aware of the differences between me and other children especially when I had to use a wheelchair.

"However, I made the decision not to dwell on my disabilities and focus on what I can do to make things better for myself. Over the years, I have worked hard to get to where I am, and even though I face challenges every day, I'm determined not to be defined by my condition.

"Getting into college was a huge achievement for me, and I try to live as independently as possible, which has been helped greatly by my running chair. I'm now training for my run later in the year which I'm really excited about.

(front to back) Robert Bate and his friend John Gilbert (Image: Irwin Mitchell)

"I hope that by sharing my story I can inspire others to realise there's still life after a brain injury and I want to live mine to the full. I really believe you can do anything when you put your mind to it."

Robert currently lives in an adapted property with his carers, his mother Jenny 55 lives in an annexe to the property. He receives support from a speech and language therapist, a physiotherapist and a dietician.

A creative fellow, he is studying performing arts at Stafford College supported by an Educational Health Care Plan. His loving family were able to secure him lifelong support and rehabilitation through lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

Caitlin Kelly, a specialist court of protection lawyer at Irwin Mitchell supporting Robert, said: "Robert has been through a traumatic ordeal and the injuries he suffered as a child will continue to affect him for the rest of his life.

"Through our work we come across many people living with brain injuries. Despite the ongoing challenges he faces as a result of his disabilities, Robert has shown such courage and determination to build a life for himself and we're privileged to be able to support him with that.

"Robert has gone from strength to strength with his mobility, and it's incredibly inspiring to hear he's now taking part in the Great North Run. He has really defied the odds and we wish him the best of luck as he continues to live life to the full."

Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

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