Defying the odds
- By: Matija Prka
One morning in 1997, during an outpatient clinic in Slavonski Brod in Croatia, a middle aged man came in and greeted the doctor with a broad smile. When the doctor addressed him by name I remembered the newspaper articles about a former drug addict who had suffered from cerebral palsy from early childhood and became a supermarathon runner. This was the same man, Tadija Opacak. He came for regular checkups. After this checkup I invited him for a cup of coffee and he gladly accepted. I heard his life story.
He was born as a healthy twin in 1960 in Derventa, Bosnia and Herzegovina. While his twin brother grew up normally, Tadija became ill with cerebral palsy when he was 6 months old. “I learnt to walk without assistance at the age of 4 and even then it was with a heavy dragging of the left leg and the left