Ask 13-year-old Rithwik about the biggest LEGO set he’s put together and he’ll proudly tell you about a 600-piece Titanic he tackled. And if you ask him how fast he can complete one of these builds, he’ll tell you it only took a day.
With the patience and attention-to-detail he has in putting together his favourtie building blocks, you’d think his parents would have a budding engineer on their hands. But for this teenager the sky really is the limit for his future career goals.
“I actually want to be an air traffic controller,” he says. “I’m thinking of either Pearson Airport, Chicago O’Hare, or Heathrow in London, England.”
Rithwik’s love of airplanes stems from his love of travelling. With countries like the United Kingdom, India, and Thailand under his belt, Rithwik has always found excitement in exploring somewhere new—even if he has to be a little extra careful doing so.
Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, Rithwik has lived his life with weak bones—making him more susceptible to fractures and injuries.
“I always try to control my sneezes, because even when I sneeze there’s a risk that I can break my bones,” he says. “When it first started, I was scared of it because I didn’t want to go through the pain.”
But thanks to the programs and services at Holland Bloorview, Rithwik been able to get the care he needs for his diagnosis. And while physiotherapy and occupational therapy (OT) are a part of his routine—it doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy doing it.
In fact, on top of the accessible swimming pool and the hospital’s cooking club, where he baked the pandemic-classic banana muffins, Rithwik has also been able to access OT sessions where he gets a chance to play Botley’s Bootle Blast to help with strength and mobility.
Botley’s Bootle Blast is a mixed reality video game where kids play by moving their bodies to complete the many mini-games, while simultaneously working on their therapy goals. And having mastered driving his own power wheelchair, it’s no surprise Rithwik is a huge fan of the mini racing game, in particular.
“Holland Bloorview is such a fun place! But, more importantly, I feel like I have more opportunities by coming here,” he says with a smile on his face.
“I can get stronger thanks to the hospital.”