David Godoy – Hispanic Heritage Month

Growing Up

David was born in Ecuador, South America in 1981 and was the first of three children to his parents, Mercedes and Mario. At birth he was diagnosed with a disability, Cerebral Palsy, but his parents were surprised but determined to give him the best life to their ability. It took David a little bit longer time but when he took my first steps at the age of 7 years. It was one of the happiest and proudest moments for David’s entire family and friends.

As David got older his parents wanted to give him and my sisters the best life, so they made the decision to move. A major reason being that South America didn’t have education or jobs for individuals with disabilities, so they moved to the United State of America in 1995. 

Once David moved to the United States at 11 years old, things began to change to quickly for the better of the whole family. David’s physical therapist had made it clear that he would need surgery to fix the tendon that was embedded in his ligament. In 1998, David had a successful surgery at the most prestigious hospital called Johns Hopkins. After getting the surgeries he needed and completing rehabilitation therapy his parents enrolled him into a special education school. After that David has thrived, finishing school, becoming an athlete leader, and getting a job! 

David’s Disability

When David was born, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, this made his life more difficult but didn’t stop him from living out his dreams.

According to the CDC, Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles.

A large difference between David compared to other babies was that he had a lot of mobility issues, but his parents did their best to get him walking and around until he was 4 years old when his parents and doctor felt that a physical therapist would be beneficial for furthering my mobility.

To help David walk and get around independently, he use braces on my legs, crutches, and a wheelchair. Sometimes when he is having a conversation or taking a test, it may take him an extra second or two to gather his thoughts; but with patience from his family, friends, and teammates, he able to share effectively what he is thinking! Thanks to his special ed teachers and speech therapists, David has been able to adapt to everyday life and thrive in Special Olympics.

“I spend my time as an Athlete Leader encouraging other individuals with disabilities to never give up on their goals and dreams because today I am living my goals and dreams that once I thought were not possible.” – David Godoy

A Word From David Godoy

“I have learned that words are powerful, and can give people the confidence to do great things. I am proud that I’ve had the opportunity to share my Spanish culture and my family’s traditions throughout Special Olympics and show how it made me the person I am today. I am proud to be an Special Olympics Maryland Multi-Cultural Athlete Leader because it shows other Athletes who may not speak the same language or use ASL to communicate that barriers shouldn’t keep you from becoming an Athlete Leader, this program focuses on what you can do and how to adjust in situations of frustration or difficulty.”