#ChampionsWithCP – Rohit Jain believes he is different, not disabled
In our October campaign #ChampionsWithCP, we feature Rohit Jain from Jaipur. A motivational speaker, Rohit's positivity and determination gets him noticed by everyone, even the late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
Born premature with cerebral palsy, Rohit Jain was given three months to live by doctors. Even if he survived, he would be a vegetable, they said. Today at the age of 37, this computer engineer and motivational speaker continues to defy all the traditional notions associated with disability.
"First of all, I am not a disabled person", says Rohit, who lives in Jaipur. "I believe it is possible for every person to achieve extraordinary things in life. I have faced many rejections but kept making attempts until I showed the world that disability is just an extension of your personality".
That's amazingly positive given how hard the first eight years of Rohit's life were given the lack of awareness about cerebral palsy. From getting diagnosis to treatment, everything was a struggle made worse by the reluctance of most schools to give him admission.
The turning point came when he was eight years old. Rohit underwent a rare surgery called Posterior Selective Rhizototomy, pioneered in the United States. This is a nerve surgery done to loosen the spasticity in the legs. He was among the first persons with cerebral palsy to be operated in India, a big risk given the largely negative reactions from his doctors. The surgery had not been successful for the others but in Rohit's case it was. He was able to walk independently with the help of a walker/elbow clutches.
Now, there was no stopping him.
Rohit went on to become a computer engineer and a successful sportsperson, winning the gold medal twice at discus throw. He has played football for the state team and follows cricket avidly, especially his heroes Sachin Tendulkar and M S Dhoni.
I used to love sports but could not play like the other children so would watch them play. When I used to see people play cricket, I would wish I could play like them. Watching cricket matches and hearing inspirational stories of cricketers would inspire me to achieve more. - Rohit Jain, Computer Engineer
From meeting former President APJ Abdul Kalam to receiving an award on World Disability Day in 2017 from President Ram Kovind, Rohit has led a rich life. Meeting Dr Kalam was among the highlights of his life. "He was such an inspiring personality. I met him in 2013 at a conference in Hyderabad and he loved my presentation and gave me an award. We had a one on one connect and found him full of knowledge and experience".
Qualities that his former colleague Sumedha Mathur feels are somewhat true for Rohit too. "Rohit is always smiling and gives out positive vibes. He is also very determined, ambitious and hardworking".
Sister Richa Jain says it was these qualities that have enabled him to come this far. "He is a firm and determined person and even as a child when he would go for physiotherapy sessions, one could see how hard it was for him to do the prescribed exercises but he was determined to get it right. That will power has helped him grow and reach where he has today".