March 22, 2019
Fredrick White didn’t think twice about seeing kids his age climb a tree and cross monkey bars. Without hesitation, the 7-year-old tried to scamper up a tree trunk and grab onto the metal bars at any opportunity.
As he tried and tried again, Fredrick struggled. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Fredrick struggles with fine motor skills, balance and coordination and suffers from muscle weakness.
“He asked why he couldn’t climb a tree like the other kids, which absolutely broke our hearts,” recalled Fredrick’s mom, Jessica White.
Fredrick was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, and for his first three days of life, suffered a series of seizures.
“After three days of his uncontrollable seizures, countless tears, and cries to God asking ‘why’… I finally came to a place of surrender,” Jessica said. “I verbally submitted my trust to God and the seizures immediately stopped.”
Jessica and Fredrick’s dad, Rick White, were so grateful their son was doing better, but as Fredrick started to grow, they started to see delays. When Fredrick started to walk around his first birthday, his family noticed a limp that just wouldn’t go away.
“Looking back, I think we knew deep down,” Jessica said. “But it was hard to face the fact that our son might have to walk a difficult road and nobody wants that for their children.”
While cerebral palsy affects Fredrick’s movements and speech, it’s also taught him the power of hard work and determination. He didn’t give up, and after many tries, not only did he climb a tree, he later made it all the way across the monkey bars by himself.
“We are so grateful and proud of him for his determination,” Jessica said. “He completes what he sets out to do even if it takes a bit longer than some.”
Fredrick doesn’t let all that extra work get him down. He loves to laugh, cuddle with his kitties — Patch and Oliver — decorate for the holidays and play games. With the support of the Sanford Children’s Pediatric Therapies team, Fredrick has made great progress, especially in his first grade classroom.
“His joy, kindness and persistent spirit cause him to shine brightly everywhere he goes,” Jessica said. “The challenges that come with his cerebral palsy can be difficult at times, but they continue to enrich our journey as a family and strengthen our spirit and faith.”
“We are so blessed to have our community’s support with our family, church, Fredrick’s school and Sanford. I’m so grateful God surrounded us with such a supportive and generous community.”
The Great American Bike Race (GABR) has helped make Fredrick’s success possible. Funds from the annual event have helped the family with costs not covered by insurance and made it possible for Fredrick to continue to receive the best care.
“As parents, we all want the best care for our children no matter what,” Jessica said. “The truth is sometimes that care comes with extreme costs, especially when you have a child that requires more medical care. Knowing there is help available really offers a sense of hope and peace to many families like ours.”
Fredrick’s family pays forward that support by participating in GABR as the Giving Grinches.
“I know every year, without fail, I will be so incredibly touched and usually brought to tears when I step back and look at the love that our community has for all of our families,” Jessica said. “These are all such precious, precious children that have real day-to-day struggles. It is so inspiring and incredibly humbling to see our community step forward in such a profound way to support and celebrate them.”
By supporting GABR, you help local kids, like Fredrick, believe that anything is possible.