In 2001 Mike Berkson met Tim Wambach. Mike has cerebral palsy and virtually no movement of his arms and legs, thus limiting his control and independence. Tim was a motivated young adult looking to find his way. It is said that everybody is looking for somebody and these two individuals were indirectly looking for each other.
Tim was hired to be Mike’s one on one aide when Mike was 12. (Tim was 27) Tim would help Mike do the things he was not able to do for himself, like taking notes, feeding, and going to the bathroom, to name a few.
Mike and Tim started to form a bridge from one world to another. From Tim’s world of mobility and accessibility to Mike’s world of dependence and special needs.
Through the years the relationship grew and their bond became stronger. In January of 2003, Tim accompanied Mike on a school trip to Washington DC. This would be the first time that Mike would be away from his family. It was here that Tim understood what Mike and his family had to go through on a daily basis.
Mike found another advocate that could help him grow and move past his many physical challenges. Something that he thought he would never find outside his immediate family. What transpired in DC, would be the catalyst that has grown into something beyond a friendship and business partners. But, we are getting a head of ourselves.
Mike and Tim continued to work together through Mike’s freshmen year of high school. Tim went on to do a few different things, but always felt pulled to help Mike in some capacity. Mike and Tim always knew they had a story to tell and wanted to share with as many people as possible. The only question was how?
The pair decided that the best way to do this was to put the pen to paper or more accurately, fingers to keys and create something that would both inspire and entertain. In 2005, their story, ‘How We Roll’ link to purchase book here (originally published as Keep On Keeping On) was released. Both Mike and Tim understood that people were not aware of the experiences the physically handicapped community face.
The duo wanted to grab people’s attention so they came up with the crazy idea, maybe the craziest idea one could think of. Tim would embark on a cross-country run to raise awareness about people living with a physical disability. The run would begin in Orlando, Florida, more specifically Disney World and would end at Glenbrook South High School where Mike was a junior at the time. The run would take 31 days. The entire month of August. Tim’s motivation was to make more people aware of cerebral palsy and they are happy to say that the run was a resounding success.
What was the result? Mike and Tim created the Keep On Keeping On Foundation to help those living with severe physical disabilities, like cerebral palsy. They have helped families pay for therapy, equipment, home modifications, and motorized wheelchairs all in an effort to help both the child and the family.
The publicity that they received helped spawn a speaking career for Mike and Tim to tell their story to a wide range of groups. Their speaking success ultimately gave the pair the opportunity to spread their message of tolerance and inclusion thru their live two-man show called “Handicap This!” which premiered in 2010