Toronto Blue Jays Raise Money for CP Surgery

Ben Sheppard is an eight year old boy who has spastic cerebral palsy, which makes some of his muscles abnormally stiff or spasm. Ben was in foster care until he was 5 years old and didn’t receive proper treatment and therapy for his cerebral palsy during that time. He was adopted by Toronto natives Robyn and Norman in 2011, and they have tried to help Ben do all the activities he loves, including playing baseball. Ben throws the ball up the stairs and then tries to catch it as it rolls down. He could do this for hours.

Ben has a “get up and go” mindset and likes to be active. He wears orthotics on his feet that make his feet go into positions that his spasticity doesn’t want them to go in. But without the orthotics, Ben falls over. In school, Ben has to wear a soft helmet because he constantly falls. With age, Ben wants to become increasingly active, but as Ben ages, his spasticity has become worse. Robyn and Norman note that Ben is spending more and more time in a wheelchair; walking can be very painful and challenging for him.

When Robyn received a call from the school telling her that Ben had a seizure, she decided that she would do whatever it takes to get her son the best treatment in the world so he can live as normal a life as possible and take part in fun activities.

Surgery for Spastic Cerebral Palsy 

After doing a lot of research, Robyn and Norman found a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri that performs a surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR).  For this surgery, a  surgeon goes into the child’s spinal cord, selects the nerves that are causing spasticity, and cuts them.  Once these nerves are cut, the child’s spasticity should be gone or significantly decreased. It takes many months of aggressive physical therapy to maximize the benefits of SDR, and the physical therapy has to be continued throughout the child’s lifetime.

 In addition to aggressive physical therapy, there are numerous complementary treatments available to help children with cerebral palsy. However, not all of these treatments are as significant and long-lasting as selective dorsal rhizotomy. SDR is a permanent treatment. Unfortunately, selective dorsal rhizotomy is only offered in the United States. Robyn and Norman want to take their son to the physician who pioneered this groundbreaking surgery for children who have cerebral palsy. Dr. Tae Sung Park developed SDR and he is the surgeon with the most experience, having operated on over 3,000 children. The cost of the surgery is $55,000.00, and the Sheppards hoped to raise $100,000.00 to cover the surgery, plus the expense of traveling and the intense physical therapy required post-surgery.

On July 20th, Toronto Blue Jays alumni are hosting a clinic to raise money for Ben’s surgery. The clinic is part of the Honda Super Clinic Series, and it is from 9 a.m. – noon at Whitby’s Iroquios Park.  At the clinic, kids can run the bases with the Blue Jays and they will receive Blue Jays hats, t-shirts and baseball gloves.

About ABC Law Centers 

ABC Law Centers is a law firm that has been helping children with birth injuries throughout the country for over two decades.  Attorney Jesse Reiter, the president and co-founder of the firm, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for over 25 years.  The attorneys at ABC Law Centers have won numerous awards for their advocacy of children with disabilities, including cerebral palsy, and are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group (BTLG) and the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ).

If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the experienced attorneys at ABC Law Centers can help.  We have helped children throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy and a secure future, and we give personal attention to each child and family we represent.  Our lawyers have numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements and no fees are ever paid to our firm unless we win your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation – we are available to speak with you 24/7.


Post 2014.06.06 michigan cerebral palsy lawyer shares 145216 8 screenshot jesse

Watch a video of birth injury attorney Jesse Reiter discussing the numerous causes of cerebral palsy.  A common cause of CP is a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during delivery, which can cause a brain injury called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).


  1. Toronto Blue Jays Helping Whitby’s Ben Sheppard Run the Bases 
  2. Blue Jays Alumni Gather to Help Boy with Cerebral Palsy 

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