“My name is Alex Paul Price.
“I have endured countless physical, speech and occupational therapy sessions, dealt with depression and anxiety, and had numerous exhaustive surgeries,” Mr. Price writes in his first-ever book.
“I have also been able to make countless friends, meet new family members and learn important lessons about life.”
With humor, grace and compassion, Mr. Price, a 22-year-old paraplegic who suffers from cerebral palsy, has written an autobiography “Never Give Up.” It is a guide to finding strength through all of life’s challenges.
“I always try to look at the bright side of things, so faith and humor help me do that,” Mr. Price said outside his Solon home and under sunny skies.
“We laugh at just about everything,” his mother Julie Price, 48, said.
Mr. Price said he wanted to write his book to not only tell his story, but to help inspire others. It took him three years to write the book, which is available on Amazon. He has feeling only in the pointer finger on his left hand, which he used at the beginning of writing the book, but also dictated and had help through a word processing program.
“In 2016 I decided to write a book,” Mr. Price, a 2016 graduate from Solon High School, explained. “I wanted to give people hope that they can overcome challenges.”
His daily challenges are countless and he requires full care, from going to the bathroom to eating and getting dressed. Simple tasks like brushing his teeth is also something he needs help with, his mother said.
“As much as he has been through, you can either crawl up in a ball in corner and cry or get up and have a sense of humor about it,” his mother said.
Despite his challenges, Mrs. Price has taught her son that his daily goal should be doing at least one nice thing for someone.
Mr. Price has not met a person he doesn’t like, his mother noted.
He is able to reach out to others through his job for the past five years as a greeter at Cleveland Browns’ games. The front cover of his book is taken near the stadium, with Mr. Price and his therapy dog Jet.
“He is a very social butterfly,” Ms. Price said. “He loves working and greeting people.”
“They don’t know personal space,” Mr. Price added with a laugh. He is met with hugs, kisses and high fives from many of those he greets.
“My supervisor’s name is Jim,” Mr. Price writes. “The first thing he said to me was keep that smile on your face because that smile is really contagious.”
“Alex goes up to people and says ‘Hi, how is your day,’ and is always making friends,” Ms. Price said. “He just loves making people happy and brightening their day.”
He volunteers handing out food at his church food pantry, takes part in a book club and fitness classes, both at the Solon Community Center, and takes part in weekly physical and speech therapy sessions.
Mr. Price has many close friends and shares stories of them within his book, as well as the many caregivers who have assisted his mother throughout the years.
“I have had good people in my life,” Mr. Price said.
That includes those who attend his church, the West 58th Street Church of God in Cleveland. It is his faith that helps him persevere, he said.
“He has been through a lot,” Ms. Price said. People stare at him and have made rude comments, she said. Mr. Price said that is something that has brought him down, but he tries to look at the bright side.
“I teach him to educate people,” Ms. Price said.
She said someone once asked her if she was his “handler” or what his life expectancy was in front of him.
“He has really had to deal with a lot of negativity,” Ms. Price said.
Mr. Price said it used to bother him when he was younger, but not anymore.
He said he is proud of himself for writing a book, and still getting used to the fact he actually did it.
“Hopefully by me telling my story, it will help others through their own challenges,” he said.
Mr. Price credits the book to his family, including his twin brother, John, who has autism.
Both were born at 30 weeks.
Ms. Price said she is very proud of her son and the book made her laugh and cry.
“It was great he was able to accomplish this,” she said. “He is my reason I get up every day and the reason I keep going.”
“Your life would be boring without me,” Mr. Price said with a laugh and wide smile.
“He’s taught me to be a better person,” his mother added. “He just loves everyone and sees the good. He never has a bad word to say.”