Cerebral Palsy Survivor Writes Books, Plays Rugby

By Dick Johnson
|  Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010  |  Updated 8:45 PM CDT
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Chris Rathje:  Wheelchair Athlete With Can-Do Attitude

NBCChicago.com

Chris Rathje has been in a wheelchair since shortly after he was born -- but he's never let that stop him.

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Chris Rathje: Wheelchair Athlete With Can-Do Attitude

Some people dwell on things they can't do, but one Chicago man looks past his limitations and concentrates on surpassing challenges.
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Chris Rathje has been in a wheelchair since shortly after he was born -- but he's never let that stop him.

Today, the 27-year old Downers Grove native has written a book and even joined a wheelchair rugby team. His achievements, he says, are all due to the power of positive thinking.

"I wanted to write since I was 9," says Rathje, who runs his own personal site at ChrisRathje.com. There he talks about his first book, as yet unpublished, which is tenatively called "Don't Be Afraid to Eat Soup With a Fork: my journey to realizing anything is possible."

Never one to let his disadvantages hold him back, Chris worked hard to graduate from the University of Illinois and get a Masters in Marketing from Northwestern. He was a member of U of I's national championship wheelchair basketball team.

It took him two years to make his first basket.

"It was the best physical therapy I could have asked for," he says.

Chris knows that by some people's standards, he's not successful. He doesn't have a big bank account, and he's not an award-winning athlete.

"In certain aspects of life I'm behind where people are who I graduated with five years ago," says Chris. "But I've learned that's OK. I had such a minimal chance of living 27 years ago that I feel like I'm playing with house money".

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