Spirit of Alabama: The Hank Poore Foundation
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It’s most commonly caused by brain injury or lack of oxygen before birth.
Many people with cerebral palsy also have intellectual disorders or other physical issues, but CP itself is not the cause.
That means that while those with cerebral palsy may have issues with motor function, their intelligence is not affected by the disorder.
That’s an important distinction for Hank Poore and his mother Kathy Poore, because Hank has cerebral palsy.
“People are quick to judge him when they see him,” Kathy Poore said. “They make a snap judgment about his intellect, about his ability. I’ve just tried to teach him to be patient and to talk to the people and you know once they get to know him they know that they have misjudged him.”
If you judge Hank before meeting him, you’re probably way off the mark.
“I graduated from high school in 2020 and my Mom and I were trying to figure out what was next for me,” he said. “I have been so fortunate to have the opportunities that I have had. I have water skied, snow skied, cycled the mountains of Colorado and done more marathons than I can count.”
Hank has not one, but two jobs. Communicating with him isn’t hard, but it does take patience.
“I would just like to be approached like you would approach any other 20-year-old,” he said. “I don’t like it when people talk over me or for me. I also appreciate it when people give me time to type my message. Even though it might take me longer, I usually have a lot to say.”
And Hank has plenty to share through the foundation that bears his name, the Hank Poore Foundation.
“The mission of the Hank Poore Foundation is to provide opportunities and experiences for people with disabilities that will foster authentic connections for individuals, groups and communities,” Hank said.
Ion, Hank’s service dog, is trained to assist Hank in his daily life, giving him more freedom, Kathy said.
“Hank loves to smile, he loves to laugh, he loves to kid around with people and you rarely meet someone who doesn’t just love him,” Kathy said.