CHARACTER COUNTS

Runner Justin Gallegos becomes Nike’s first athlete with cerebral palsy

Oct 15, 2018, 5:30 PM

One major aspect of the human condition is to fight against the odds and defy limitations. For Oregon runner Justin Gallegos, defying the odds is the norm.

Gallegos, a member of Oregon’s running club, has cerebral palsy and has spent his life fighting past his condition to push boundaries and achieve his dreams. Now, he’s become the first person with cerebral palsy to sign a professional contract with Nike.

The University of Oregon running group was joined by Nike insight director John Douglass to present him with his endorsement deal. Aided by a filming crew from Pacific Northwest production company Elevation 0m, Nike filmed the process to share Gallegos’ story with a wider audience.

This event coincided with World Cerebral Palsy Day on Saturday, Oct. 6. Not only was this a great way to spread awareness about the disorder, but it afforded Gallegos the opportunity of a lifetime.

Gallegos’s heartwarming response to the deal is what caught the attention of more than 141,000 Twitter users that liked the video posted by Sports Illustrated. This video not only told a small portion of Gallegos’ story, but it also caught the whirlwind of emotion that overwhelmed him in the moment.

Gallegos posted the video on his own Instagram account, where he described his experience and story on World Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day.

View this post on Instagram

Today on world Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, I reached a milestone in my running journey! Today I made Nike history and became the very first athlete with Cerebral Palsy to sign a contract with Nike! You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes! Signing this contract was a huge success for me and I would not have made it without my friends and family and teammates! This was perhaps the most emotional moment in my seven years of running! Growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is as I have said before like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest! It is definitely possible, but the odds are most definitely not in your favor! Hard work pays off! Hundreds of miles, blood, sweat, and tears has lead me here along with a few permanent scars! But the journey is damn sure not over!!! Looking back, I would guess there is only a few select people who would see me were I am today! I have gone through just about everything in the book to be where I am today! I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put on foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a contract with Nike Running! Trust the process! And most of all trust in God! God is good! Thank you to all my friends, family, and teammates on running club, and now a brand new atmosphere on teammates with Nike! This moment will live forever! Thank you everyone for helping show the world that there is No Such Thing As A Disability! #ProfessionalAthlete #SWOOSH #Nike72 #NikeTrackandField #NikeXC #ThereIsNoFinishLine #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #NikeRunning #Limitless #Breaking2 Video Credits: @elevation0m

A post shared by Justin "Magic" Gallegos (@zoommagic) on

“You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes,” Gallegos said in his post.

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Runner Justin Gallegos becomes Nike’s first athlete with cerebral palsy