We’re so excited to share RJ Mitte’s story with our Orange County Cerebral Palsy community and the CP community across the world. RJ, and his mom Dyna are the two newest board members of Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement.
Their story, and others like them, have the potential of building hope and demonstrating that the future can be brighter for children with CP than ever thought possible.
If you aren’t familiar with RJ, he is an actor, and perhaps one of his most notable roles was as Walter White, Jr. on the hit show Breaking Bad.
While RJ played a role on television that highlighted Cerebral Palsy, this wasn’t an act. RJ has CP. He used crutches in the show, but he walks without assistance, and he credits yoga and his family for supporting him.
We are excited to share RJ’s story, and we asked Dyna a few questions about raising a son with CP.
CCPM: Tell us a little bit about the early years, surrounding RJ’s birth and diagnosis. What was it like to have a child with CP at that time? What were the prevailing treatment methods and services like at the time? How did your family deal with the diagnosis?
Dyna Mitte: I stayed in labor for 3 days, and I believe that the doctor waited too long to deliver. RJ was so incredibly bright and alert that we had no idea of his CP. The earliest indication was the way he used his fingers to pick up objects and his toe walking.
Several Pediatrician tested him and gave no suggestion that he had CP ( he was so smart he fooled them.) They sent us to a surgeon who was preparing to do an operation to sever and relieve the heel cord tightening (if this had been done RJ would have never walked again).
CCPM: What is RJ’s full name, nickname, age, what type and level of severity of Cerebral Palsy does he have?
CCPM: As the parent of a child with CP, what was your biggest fear when he was growing up? How did you overcome that and who was your biggest encourager?
Dyna Mitte: I refused to let him give in to self-pity. We worked to confront challenges, which included pushing him socially. We sought to keep him involved in as much as possible. We had a lot of encouragement from family, and I taught him to depend on God.
CCPM: What was RJ’s presentation like in the early years and how did that evolve over time, given the interventions you availed yourselves of?
CCPM: Did RJ face challenges making friends or being bullied at school? If so, how did he deal with this and what advice would he give now to children with CP facing the same?
CCPM: What would you say to other parents of children with CP? Did you feel like you adequately took care of yourself in RJ’s early years?
CCPM: How did RJ get into acting and how was he first received by his peers and by the general public?
Dyna Mitte: Serendipity, upon meeting RJ, his sister’s agent asked if he would like to try acting. (She had no idea he had CP.) The 14 years of work and therapy had paid off. I call it God’s provision and blessing!
CCPM: What have both your and RJ’s advocacy efforts been like related to CP and what are your plans going forward?
CCPM: Lastly, for CCPM’s benefit, can you please share your experiences what you feel are the components that go into an effective awareness building and fundraising campaign?
Dyna Mitte: While our efforts are minimal, RJ has had a platform due to God’s blessing of allowing him to be part of an award-winning show. Writer, Vince Gillian, is to be applauded for his effort to feature one of his childhood friends with CP.
Dyna Mitte: There is light at the end of the tunnel! Don’t hold your child back! Be thankful! Demonstrate God’s Love!