Local boy with Cerebral Palsy makes great strides as Oil Barons flag bearer

When Joshua Fitzpatrick was 10 months old he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, born missing part of his brain, and doctors said there’s a chance he might not walk or talk.

Fast forward to today, at 12 years old, Joshua is not only walking but skating by himself, unassisted, as he represents the Fort McMurray Oil Barons as the flag bearer.

The first time Joshua went out as the flag bearer, he was in an adaptive stroller with the flag taped to the side and an Oil Baron (Jarred White) pushing him around the rink.

The second was with the flag taped to the side of a skate aid.

Finally, the third time, on Sat Jan. 29 in front of the crowd at Centerfire Place, unassisted with the flag in his own hands, Joshua took one big lap around half the ice.

Joshua’s mother Barbara Fitzpatrick says seeing moments like this makes all the hard days worth it.

“All the work you put into it, all the teams that we’ve had over the years, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, you put in all the time, work, and money and this is the reward you get, and you never give up.”

She says that Joshua’s determination is the reason he is where he’s at today.

“I knew right from the start, that this is the prognosis, but that’s not going to be the way it’s going to be for Joshua, and he started walking right before his 3rd birthday, and on skates shortly after.”

Joshua plays on the Coldwell Banker Inclusive Royals hockey team, which is a program that brings kids together with all different types of abilities.

“The support from the community to keep something like this going is fantastic, we have approximately 36 kids registered, with ice time on Saturdays and Sundays,” says Fitzpatrick.

She adds that hopefully Joshua’s story can give some parents that are starting from day one that there is hope.

As for what’s next for Joshua, he says he can’t wait to get his license soon.

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