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Jacob Discovers the Key to Embracing His Full Potential at Shriners Children’s

Jacob wants other Shriners Children's patients to know that anything is possible!

Jacob is a 31-year-old patient alumnus with spastic cerebral palsy (CP). He is a content creator, entrepreneur, model, professional surfer and inspirational speaker based in Long Beach, California. Jacob’s content focuses on empowerment and optimization – inspirational topics made stronger by his humility and witty sense of humor. His positive outlook on life is contagious.

Jacob’s time at Shriners Children’s shaped him into an individual capable of overcoming any challenge. Some of the most formidable moments of growth during his life have occurred inside the walls of Shriners Children’s Northern California.

“After a while, you start to feel like an experiment in hospitals and it’s depressing when you go because you’re always told what’s wrong with you,” said Jacob. “Shriners Children’s flipped that narrative and focused on possibilities – what I could do if I worked hard enough and who I could become.”

When Jacob was 8 years old, his mother brought him to Shriners Children’s Northern California. His family wanted the very best cerebral palsy care for him. Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders of the developing brain. Like Jacob, many patients with CP will have spasticity (tight muscles) that make walking and balance more difficult. Each patient with CP has a unique pattern of neurological involvement, some with barely noticeable differences and others with more significant disability. In Jacob’s case, his condition affects his lower limbs, balance and left hand. Previous doctors had predicted Jacob would lose his mobility at age 16. Jacob’s care team at Shriners Children’s took an individualized, multidisciplinary approach and developed a treatment plan specific to his needs, including rigorous physical therapy and rehabilitation.

“Every day was harder than the previous day. My mind and body were broken. Every fall on the mat, I was burned with pain and anger,” said Jacob. “But every time it happened, there were a pair of hands there to help me rise from the mat. Whether it was a Shriners Children’s therapist, doctor or my family, those hands were there for me.”

With surfing, a wave is very similar to life. It’s going to keep coming at you and you have a choice. Either you go over it, under it, or you turn around and you catch that sucker!

Jacob said encouragement from Shriners Children’s lead him to eventually find the true meaning of a fulfilling and grateful life, despite the challenges he faced during adolescence. During this period of discovery in his life, he moved to Long Beach, California, to pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology and learn to surf.

“Surfing turned out to be one of the greatest adventures of my life,” said Jacob. “It healed my soul. There are moments when I will hit the water feeling frustrated and angry, and the water will beat me down until I relax myself and am calm.”

Jacob went on to found his own organization, Prone To Ride, which is a speaking and content platform. The company’s mission is to empower people to discover and embrace their fullest potential. Jacob regularly shares his own journey of finding self-empowerment and navigating personal growth on Prone To Ride’s social platforms to encourage others to achieve greatness.

“With surfing, a wave is very similar to life,” said Jacob. “It’s going to keep coming at you and you have a choice. Either you go over it, under it, or you turn around and you catch that sucker!”

Patient Alumni Network, meet Jacob

Former Shriners Children's patient, Jacob helps us launch our new Patient Alumni Network which allows former patients to connect and stay involved with Shriners Children's, sharing their stories. Learn more:
View Transcript

Jacob Pacheco: My name is Jacob Pacheco. I am a former Shiners Children's patient. I live in Long Beach, California, Southern California, where the weather and the beaches are nice.

I'm deeply honored to be part of the Patient Alumni Network celebrating Shiners Children's 100 year anniversary.

I was born with a physical disability called spastic cerebral palsy. I was diagnosed at six months of age, and so my family and I basically lived with this condition throughout my entire life. But when I was younger, my condition got pretty severe and my family and I were looking for some answers and we happened to find Shiners Children's, and we came here when I was about six years old, all the way through until I was about 16.

The rehabilitation isn't a straight path. It's really important to take the lessons you learn at a young age and apply them to your later life as an adult. I actually became a professional surfer, a speaker, that I get to travel the world, and kind of promote this message of inclusion, community, and love. I've learned that those lessons never apply moreso than in the ocean as a surfer, because a wave in the ocean is going to come at you one way or another, and you have to learn how to deal with it. You have a lot of different choices to make. You can either let life happen to you, you can go around different obstacles and challenges, or you can ride them out and see how it goes. I prefer to ride them out or move around them because I think that's a little bit more fun, but I think those life lessons are very, very important that we can all apply to our own journeys. It leads to a lot of fulfillment in inner peace.

What makes Shiners Children's so special is the amount of support and care that you get when you walk through those doors, not just from the doctors, but from the support staff, the Shriners that are there to greet you in the waiting room, the nurses who are there to help take care of you, that's what I think differentiates the hospital more than most.

To any patients or families who are inside Shiners Children's right now, I have one thing to say to you. One step at a time, one day at a time. I know it might be hard right now, but it will get better. Just keep a smile on your face and keep moving forward.

Are you a previous Shiners Children's patient? If you are click them link below to join our network.

Meet Jacob

Jacob said encouragement from the Shriners Children’s staff lead him to eventually find the true meaning of a fulfilling and grateful life, despite the challenges he faced during adolescence.

Young jacob

Young Jacob.

Jacob riding a wave

Jacob riding a wave.

Young Jacob opening Christmas presents

Jacob opening Christmas presents with a big smile on his face, despite both his legs being casted.

Jacob today, headshot

A portrait of Jacob.

Jacob surfing, point of view from GoPro mounted on surfboard

Close-up of Jacob surfing a wave from his GoPro.

Jacob holding surfboard

Jacob posing with his surfboard after catching some waves.

Jacob surfing, point of view from GoPro mounted on surfboard

Close up of Jacob surfing a wave from his GoPro.

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