Family of Harrogate teenager with cerebral palsy launch AbleSki charity to help youngsters with Mobi

Parents of Kit Van Berckel and medical negligence lawyers mark national campaign by announcing expansion to charity venture.
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A Harrogate teenager with cerebral palsy is helping others to take to the slopes as he and his family launch their latest charity venture AbleSki.

Kit Van Berckel was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy after a brain injury at birth in May 2008. It affects his speech and mobility.

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Shortly afterwards, Kit’s parents Jo and Charles instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell which secured their son access to the specialist life-time rehabilitation and therapies he requires to help him live life to the full.


They’re now joining with their legal team in marking Cerebral Palsy Month by speaking out on their latest charity venture, AbleSki, after the family embarked on a skiing trip, with Kit, now aged 15, taking part for the first time. It’s also two years since Jo and Charles launched their first fully accessible holiday home in London through their registered charity AbleStay.

Rachelle Mahapatra, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell supporting Kit and his family, said: “I continue to be moved by his courage and determination to succeed at everything he puts his mind to.

“Kit has always wanted to join his family who are keen skiers and lack of accessible accommodation has always been a barrier until now.

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“It’s also been a privilege to have been able to help Kit on his journey by helping him access specialist support and amazing that he and his family are now able to ski together.

Kit with his familyKit with his family
Kit with his family

“Seeing that inspired the family’s vision for AbleSki, and I look forward to seeing where the future takes them next.”

Kit’s condition means he is a wheelchair user and can’t independently sit, stand or walk. Through the use of equipment and technology he has been able to achieve independence with the support of his family and care team.

In 2022, Jo and Charles, launched AbleStay and purchased the charity’s first truly accessible holiday accommodation in London for those with complex physical disabilities. Since the launch it has been booked to capacity showing the demand for high quality accessible accommodation.

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Jo said: “At 15, Kit continues to thrive in everything he does. He’s never let his cerebral palsy stop him from doing anything and we make sure he never misses out on the same experiences as his brother Oliver.

Kit and Billy from Oxygene Ski SchoolKit and Billy from Oxygene Ski School
Kit and Billy from Oxygene Ski School

“We’ve been on many holidays as a family but our most recent skiing trip was the first time that Kit was truly taking part. It was heart-warming for us all to be enjoying skiing together as a family without any barriers.

“It also inspired us to try and encourage other people like Kit get out on the slopes, so AbleSki was born. Disability need not be a barrier, many ski resorts are accessible but accommodation is lacking.”

March is Cerebral Palsy Month, which is dedicated to raising awareness of the condition that affects 17 million people worldwide.