In case y’all didn’t know, March marks Cerebral Palsy Awareness month in the United States. Canada currently doesn’t have a month recognizing the neurological condition that affects approximately 17 million people worldwide and is considered to be the most common disability in childhood, but our family actively recognizes it every single day.
Seven years ago we never knew what Cerebral Palsy was or how it would significantly change our lives.
Olivia had survived a traumatic birth that resulted in hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, meaning she was deprived of blood and oxygen to her brain. The resulting brain damage lead to the development of Cerebral Palsy.
In the years that followed Olivia underwent over four operations and six surgical procedures, all to improve muscle tone and feeding abilities. She currently uses a wheelchair for mobility, a walker and standing frame for muscle development, intakes all food through a g-tube, communicates using both technological eye gaze software and low tech eye gaze boards, and wears specialized ankle braces. This is what Cerebral Palsy looks like for her, but it is not who she is.
Olivia is an animal lover.
Olivia loves to play hockey with her big brother Nicholas and her Dad.
Olivia is an active sledge hockey player.
Olivia likes to be silly.
Olivia is an advocate for herself and others like her.
Olivia is much more than Cerebral Palsy and so are the millions of others, who live with this condition. See the ability, always.