Recently I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak at my childrens’ school about Cerebral Palsy and why days like World CP Day are important.
From the day of Olivia’s diagnosis, I knew we needed to spread awareness about this condition. I’ll admit, until Olivia was diagnosed, I had not known a single piece of information regarding Cerebral Palsy. After her diagnosis I did research online, raided my local library for books on CP, and asked every possible question I could think to her pediatric rehabilitation team. There were no parent support groups available in my area, had there been, I would have frequented them…believe me, I was craving to know every aspect of what Cerebral Palsy meant.
So now, almost four years later, you can imagine what a surreal, yet honorable experience it was to educate these young little minds on my daughter’s disability. I explained to them how CP can be caused by lack of blood and oxygen to the brain, causing brain damage and that this damage leads to limited muscle control and function. It is not a disease, and to this date, there is no cure.
I appreciated their attentiveness and their wanting to learn more about their friend, Olivia. I spoke to them how CP is a large part of her life, however it does not define her as an individual.
I explained that Olivia is very much like all of them. She has the want and need for acceptance, the desire to be respected, and the promise to be seen for her ability!
This is why days like World CP Day are important. They challenge us to look for opportunity to continue the message, to spread the word. It is evident the impact on awareness, how it leads to change and development, whether it be interest in medical research to discover a cure for CP or to invent new and improved devices for individuals affected by Cerebral Palsy. Awareness promotes progress!
When we educate the young people of today, we are breathing hope for success into tomorrow.