Hi there! My name is Spencer Hoff.
I'm going to be running, (actually rolling), in the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 24th. I will have just turned 18 years old. I say "rolling" because I get around with my power wheelchair. The Ultra-Marathoner, Ed Ettinghausen (check out his bio), will be pushing me from start to finish. We start from the Dodger Stadium and head through downtown Los Angeles and various neighborhoods, all the way to Santa Monica beach....the finish line.
You see, I have a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. CP is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination (spastic paralysis) meaning, my muscles are very tight and it makes it hard for me to move. I also use an Eye Gaze Computer to speak. There is a built-in camera on my computer that follows my eyes. So, I choose letters on the keyboard to spell what I want to say. My computer has a voice I've chosen to represent mine.
People ask me what it feels like to have Cerebral Palsy. I tell them, my muscles are tight, but I don't feel tight. This is my normal because I've only known the way I feel, since this is how I've been since birth. No part of having CP hurts for me. I can still do the things I want to do. I draw, I swim, I have even ridden horses for years. And I just completed my Varsity year of high school football. I've been on the team for all 4 years. You should have seen my touchdowns! I also play Special Olympics basketball.
What does having CP mean to me? How do I think of myself as a guy with CP? I feel like I'm my own Super Hero. Other people might think that's odd, but to me my CP makes me strong, helpful, kind and most of all, ready for ANYTHING! Actually, because of my CP, I've had unique opportunities come my way. I have met extraordinary people who have showed up in my life, (like KEEN USA and Ed Ettinghausen, the man who is pushing me in the race!) I believe it's because of my CP that I have special ABILITIES so I don't look at myself as having disabilities. Sometimes that's how people see me; what I can't do, but I see myself able to do so much!
My motto: "I think anyone can be incredible. You just have to believe in yourself!"
Thanks KEEN for giving me this chance to run!