For many kids, learning to swim is a rite of passage. Summer swim classes at the pool are a chance to make friends while learning a life-saving skill. But for some folks with disabilities, swimming can be difficult—if not impossible. One teen is going viral for conquering his fear of the water. YouTuber and disability activist Damion Gross, who has cerebral palsy, shared a video of his swim journey, which he says began in 2010.
â€śHey guys, Iâ€™m going swimming for the first time,â€ť said Gross. â€śRemember, since 2010, Iâ€™ve been trying to swim? So Iâ€™m going to do it for you guys today.â€ť Using the inner tube for balance, Gross floats onto his stomach and shows off his forward stroke, kicking his legs behind him. He flashes a giant smile at the camera, claps, and says, â€śI did it! Iâ€™m so happy!â€ť All of us are happy for you too, Damion.
I finally faced my fear I canâ€™t believe I actually swam on my own having Cerebral Palsy itâ€™s really hard to swim by myself usually Iâ€™ll have someone help me swim but this time I wanted to do it all on my own đź‘ŹđźŹľ Iâ€™m so happy pic.twitter.com/adPcBAUD9D— Damion Gross (@ItsDamionG) August 5, 2019
Cerebral palsy is a motor disability, which can â€śaffect a personÂ’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture,â€ť according to the Center for Disease Control. People with CP can have a wide range of motor difficulties, ranging from mild to severe symptoms. The most common form of CP is called spastic cerebral palsy, which causes the muscles to stiffen; limbs are usually the most affected.
The internet cheered on Grossâ€™ achievement, with many other disabled folks sharing equally inspiring stories of overcoming difficulties. CNN anchor Jake Tapper even sent Gross his sincerest congrats. Get ready for it to rain on your face.
Damion, you are an inspiration!!! Very brave!!! pic.twitter.com/85UoUwLuZj
Â— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 5, 2019
Water gives us freedom to us who have difficulty on land
Â— Connie Renee (@non1amato) August 6, 2019
The water is your friend, D.
Â— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) August 6, 2019
Me if I was the one filming pic.twitter.com/twUjBAhgw4
Â— ???? (@kalifromdavalli) August 6, 2019
Congratulations bro!! What an accomplishment. My mom feared water but was determined I learn to swim having Cerebral Palsy. She overcame her fear for me & Iâ€™m thankful for that. I swim arms only since thatâ€™s where my strength lies primarily. ???????????????????????????????
Â— A.Melly (@iStingNPearlz) August 6, 2019