DENVER - Zach Miller, 14, is not letting anything get in the way of becoming a world-class snowboarder.
When Zach was just 5 weeks old, he did not respond to any stimulus, like hand clapping.
At 5 months old, Zach could not sit up.
Zach was referred to Children's Hospital Colorado where he was diagnosed with left hemiplegic cerebral palsy, a brain disorder that impairs the nervous system.
"It affects your muscles," Zach said. "When you have growth spurts, it is hard for your muscles to keep up. A lot of times, my knees and my legs will get stiff and then I won't be able to walk. When I was younger at school, I couldn't keep up with all my friends."
With great determination, Zach has taken on extensive physical and occupational therapy at Children's Hospital Colorado. The time at the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis made the biggest difference.
The center in the orthopedics unit is the only one of its kind in the region and one of 40 in the country. It uses 3D motion capture technology to help with evaluation and treatment.
"I felt like a robot because they put all these balls and antennas on me," Zach said.
During therapy, Zach would stretch, run and play as doctors watched how his body was moving.
Zach's mother T.R. said that therapy changed her son's gait.
"He's walking today which changed the way people view him. It changed his perception of himself," T.R. said.
As Zach got stronger, he joined the Hospital Sports Program at Children's Hospital Colorado. He started skiing at age 6. Zach then moved on to snowboarding after watching some boarders in a terrain park.
In 2012, Zach won the Wells Fargo Ski Cup National Adaptive Race in Winter Park. He is now part of a training team for the Paralympics.
"The Hospital Sports Program taught me all that I know right now and they have completed a dream that I have always had," Zach said. "One of my biggest aspirations for the future is to pass that on and teach other people snowboarding."
To support programs like those Zach Miller has benefited from, you can pledge to be a "Miracle Maker" during Alice 105.9's 36 Hours for Kids.
For more information on Alice 105.9's 36 Hours for Kids: http://bit.ly/1iVZHz7.
For more information on Zach's journey: http://bit.ly/1dsL4lR.
For more on the Orthopedics Institute at Children's Hospital Colorado: http://bit.ly/1ouKZCy.
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