|Fifteen-year-old Daniel Ferreira was born premature and with cerebral palsy. He is now the top-ranked lifter in Canada in his class. Ferreira is headed to Finland to compete in the World Championship for Powerlifting.|
Daniel Ferreira is not your typical 15-year-old.
He has the ability to bench-press double the amount of weight of most kids his age, but it didn’t come without challenges.
After bringing him home from the hospital, his mother Anita says something wasn’t right.
“When he was born, we heard he might never walk. So they gave him a wheelchair.” Ferreira was born premature and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
At about six months old, Ferreira‘s parents Anita and George enrolled him at Grandview kids in Oshawa.
They provided him with orthotics and physical therapy to help support his development. Many years later, Ferreira found his passion.
“Eventually, I got involved in weight training when I turned 14 because there was an age limit. And I have never looked back from there. I found something that I am passionate about and that’s what’s important to me.”
Years later, Grandview organized a weight-training event in Whitby at the Abilities Centre. His parents “forced [him] to take swimming lessons and play basketball.”
But it was here where Ferreira was first exposed to the sport of weightlifting.
Ferreira was working with a personal trainer at the Abilities Centre and it was then they decided that the teen needed to find a powerlifting coach.
So the family reached out to 12-time Canadian powerlifting champion, Barry Antoniow, of Invictus Powerlifting. Antoniow was initially skeptical.
“Here’s this skinny little kid that wanted to get stronger and wanted to compete.”
But it was Ferreira’s drive and passion that convinced Antoniow to take him under his wing. Now, they train seven days a week at Platinum Fitness in Courtice.
Currently, Ferreira is a national record holder and is the top-ranked lifter in Canada.
Because of his hard work, he is headed to Helsinki, Finland to compete in the world powerlifting competition from May 14 to 19.
For Ferreira, it doesn’t stop there.
“I would like to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games,” he says. Regardless of the outcome, this humble teenager knows that no matter what, his actions can help lift others who face the same challenges that he once encountered.
“When I get to that level, I can spread my message even more that you should never give up. And to just always keep trying.”
Ferreira‘s father, George, is amazed at how his son is now the inspiration to families who have their children enrolled at Grandview.
“Now, he’s the inspiration. He’s the person they talk about at Grandview that inspires young parents.”
Ferreira’s mother is also very proud of her son for never giving up and has some advice to parents who may be in the same situation they were in 15 years ago.
“No matter what you are tackling with your child, push through it,” she says. “Find the energy and know that at the end, your child is going to come out on top doing the best they can do.”
Source Global News
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