The second season of FOX’s action series ‘9-1-1’ introduces Christopher Díaz, Edmundo “Eddie” Díaz’s son who has cerebral palsy (CP). Eddie’s efforts to be a good father to Christopher, especially after the death of the latter’s mother Shannon, form an integral storyline of the show. When Christopher starts to worry about Eddie’s life, he even leaves Station 118 temporarily to comfort his son. As the sixth season of the show progresses, Christopher remains an integral character of the series. Intrigued by Christopher, we have found out more information about the actor who plays him and whether the performer has CP like the character. Well, here are our findings!
Does Gavin McHugh Have Cerebral Palsy in Real Life?
Gavin McHugh plays Christopher Díaz in ‘9-1-1.’ Like his character, Gavin also has cerebral palsy. Gavin was adopted by Michael and Lisa McHugh from Riga, Latvia, at the age of two-and-a-half. When the family moved to Los Angeles from Atlanta, Gavin encountered the scope of acting. Appearing in national commercials for Honda, Walmart, Adventist Health, and Lincoln Financial paved the way for an audition for ’9-1-1’ in 2018.
According to a 2016 study, 95% of characters with disabilities in top-10 TV shows were played by able-bodied actors and that is exactly one thing ‘9-1-1’ avoids by having Gavin on board to play Christopher. “By the time the selections got to me, Gavin was already a favorite of our casting director. For me, it was seeing his audition one time, and I knew he was the one,” co-creator of the show Tim Minear told Teen Vogue. The writers of the show also made sure that Gavin’s struggles and problems are incorporated into Christopher’s life by reaching out to his parents.
Gavin’s inclusion in the cast of the show and one of the prominent storylines have been receiving immense praise, especially from the CP community. “The type of fan that Gavin has is extremely special. We just read his Instagram comments and want to cry. They’re like, ‘you changed my life,’ or ‘you made me realize that I could do things that I didn’t realize I could do,’” Gavin’s mother Lisa McHugh told Teen Vogue in the same interview. “It’s really incredible to not just have fans or have a show or a job, but [also] to be able to move people the way he is,” she added.
Being a part of ‘9-1-1’ “has changed his [Gavin’s] life and his confidence, even his self-worth,” as per Lisa, adding to Teen Vogue. “When you go to school and you’re the kid who can’t see or can’t read or can’t play on the playground, but then you’ve got this thing that nobody else has, it makes you feel special,” she further said in the same interview. Ever since joining the show, Gavin has gained a new “dad.” Ryan Guzman, who plays Eddie on the show, has developed a bond with the child actor since they have been working together.
Although the representation of performers with disabilities hasn’t reached an ideal stage in the entertainment industry, shows like ‘9-1-1’ and performers like Gavin are bringing considerable change. As far as Gavin is concerned, CP is not the end of any dreams. “You can do this. You’ve got this. I believe in you. Someone else can do it, but I can do it, too,” Gavin said to other children with CP through Ability Magazine.