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How Pokemon Go 'Gave Me a Break' From Cerebral Palsy

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When Pokemon Go first came out, I could not for the life of me understand the hype. My brother (we’ll call him Alan) downloaded it as soon as it showed up in the App Store and was out Pokemon hunting with friends that night. I, on the other hand, stayed away from it. I had never played video games growing up and quite frankly the whole concept never made sense to me.

After about a week of seeing Pokemon Go everywhere, I caved and downloaded it. I set it up, figured out how to actually catch a Pokemon, caught a few from my house, and then got bored. Very bored. If I wanted to catch other Pokemon, I would have to leave my house and go hunting for them. This would require the ability to safely drive my power chair and look at my phone at the same time. That wasn’t going to happen. I considered deleting the game, but I didn’t. I figured I’d at least wait until Alan got home. He would get a kick out of the fact that I’d finally downloaded it.

Well, he did get a kick out of it. Then he said something I did not expect to hear: “Let’s go Pokemon hunting together.”

I proceeded to glance doubtfully at the battery level on my chair. It had about half of its power left at the time. No way was it going to last on a long hunt through the neighborhood. I told Alan this, but he wasn’t worried. He had other ideas.

“We can just go in my car.” he said.

So that’s what we did. It took a little maneuvering and many variations of “don’t you dare let me fall,” but we managed to get me into his car. It felt awesome! I’ve been in plenty of cars (OK, vans) before, but this was different. There was no walker or wheelchair in the trunk, and I wasn’t in the back seat. I was in the passenger seat driving around with my brother. For those few hours, I felt just like everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve accepted the fact that I have cerebral palsy, but sometimes it’s nice to get a break from it. Even if that break involves hunting Pokemon I know nothing about. It was fun, and I hope we can do it again soon.

Originally published: August 1, 2016
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