Elliott Brito hasn't been able to move his arms and legs his entire life, but he's not letting that hold him back.
Brito was born with cerebral palsy, but the Fleetwood resident, 21, is relentlessly pursuing music as more than just a hobby, despite his impairment.
"He is quite ambitious and he wants to work as a DJ, so we're trying to help him explore it," said Joebert Maulit, Brito's caretaker. "He likes picking music - he always plays music."
Brito isn't a DJ in the traditional sense with two turntables and a microphone, he's more like a program director for a radio station, building playlists of upbeat music.
"Because of his limited movements, to be a real DJ would be quite difficult for him," said Maulit.
This Sunday, Aug. 25, Brito will make his debut at the third annual PricePro Run for Recovery, a five-and 10-kilometre run/walk to raise awareness for the Welcome Home Addiction Recovery Academy. He will be spinning tunes at the post-run carnival under the name DJ Excel between live performances by a variety of acts, including singer/songwriter Jennifer Morris, multi-instrumentalist Joe Amouzoue and the DRS Bboy Crew.
This is Brito's first time working with the Run for Recovery, and while he has performed at private events, this will be his first public show.
Gabrielle Steed of Welcome Home said when Brito and his caretakers approached them four months ago about performing, they were eager to get him involved in the entertainment.
"We said, 'Why doesn't he come here for a night and put on a demo for all the students and spend a fun evening with the students in the recovery program?'" she recalled. "He put on an awesome evening playing songs for us. We said, 'Absolutely, we would love to have you at the run.'" With the help of his caretakers, Brito has selected dozens of songs - most of them modern pop and top-40 hits by the likes of Rihanna and Katy Perry, but also an older mix with songs by the Barenaked Ladies and Bob Seger.
Because he can't move his arms and legs, Brito uses a special webcam connected to his computer that tracks the movement of his head to operate the mouse.
"There's a little dot on his forehead," said Steed. "Through focusing that dot and moving it around, it controls the cursor on the computer screen and that's how he selects the songs to play. It's amazing to watch."
The organization of the Run for Recovery is done entirely by the students of the recovery program as a thank-you to the community for its support. "They do all the work for it - they contact all the bands, they organize all the booths, they organize the barbecue," said Steed.
The carnival is free for anyone to attend and includes a bouncy castle and a dunk tank, plus a variety of other family-friendly activities. Participants in the run can register individually or as teams, and all the money goes toward covering the cost of the event. To register for the Run for Recovery or for more information, visit runforrecovery.net.
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