Hello, I’m Mike Berkson and I have cerebral palsy.
I’m Tim Wambach, and I don’t.
I met Mike in the summer of 2001. I was hired as Mike’s aide to do the things he couldn’t do for himself.
I need help doing most everyday activities, like writing, eating, and going to the bathroom (just to name a few).
Our friendship has spanned over a decade, but the adventure is just beginning. We have created a 2-man theatrical production, Handicap This!, and started a non-profit organization, Keep On Keeping On, to help those living with severe physical handicaps. We have taken our daily struggles and, more importantly, our daily triumphs and created something pretty unique. We want to show people that nothing is impossible. If you have a dream, go for it. Give it everything you’ve got! It just takes a little creativity and spirit. “Judgment Not Allowed!” That is the message (and thunder!) within our show and our organization.
We realize everybody has struggles, but we also know that everyone has the power within themselves to change their mindsets and create a better tomorrow. Life isn’t easy, but it is a lot easier when you look for the possibilities, learn to laugh at life’s challenges, and think outside of the box.
When the elevator is out of order, you could just leave, OR you can find another way up.
When you are laid up on a gurney in the hospital, you could lie there in pain and feel sorry for yourself, OR you can ride that gurney down Michigan Avenue during rush hour in Chicago to the nearest theater and get lost in a movie.
You could be out one day, come up with a fantastical idea, and file it away as something you might do someday as you plant your ass back on the couch, OR you can get off that La-Z-Boy, train like Rocky Balboa, and do something truly amazing like run from Orlando to Chicago all in the name of awareness and, most importantly, friendship.
We have done all these things (and more!). We have made audiences laugh, cry, stand up and applaud, but, most of all, we have broken down the barriers that separate people. We have given our audiences a challenge – to look beyond a person’s handicap or perceived weakness, see the potential in that person, and then see that same potential within themselves. It is our goal to deliver our message of “Judgment Not Allowed” to every single person we possibly can.
When you are faced with adversity you have two options: You can turn away and avoid it, or you can push through it and grow into a better you. It has been our experience that you appreciate what you do have more when you have to fight for it. It is the way you go about life’s challenges that defines you.
So, don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done or you are not good enough.
Don’t let other people dismiss your dreams or label you a certain way.
We are all different, and once we accept the differences within each other we can begin to make our lives and lives around us infinitely better.
Mike and Tim