Dear friend of UCP,
Today, when I tell people my story, they are often shocked. When I was born, the doctor told my mom not to look at me or bond with me. I was three months premature, a tiny little thing in an incubator. I know he was just trying to be kind to her, to spare her the sorrow of losing me. He didn’t believe I wouldn’t make it through the night.
But I was a fighter. I kept proving him wrong. A couple of days later, he told her I wouldn’t make it through the week…Well, you already know the end of the story — I survived, and am writing this letter. But my life has been an interesting journey…
When I was around 2, my mom suspected something wasn’t right. I wasn’t developing the way my older brother had. She kept telling the doctors: “There’s something wrong.” And they kept responding: “No, she’s just lazy.”
My mom persisted, and finally, I was formally diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The doctors told my parents I would never be able to walk. Fearful, they jumped into action, seeking out every organization they could find to get help for me.
Then one day, there was a knock at the door. My father answered it. There stood a politician campaigning for re-election. “Can I count on your vote?” he asked my dad. My father responded, “I could vote for you, but what can you do for me?” It was worth a try. The politician said, “Well, what’s your issue?” My dad told him about me. That was on a Friday afternoon. The following Monday morning, we had a call from United Cerebral Palsy. That phone call changed my life.
One kind deed can change the course of someone’s life. There are thousands of children with cerebral palsy and other debilitating disabilities whose parents are searching for answers.
Soon, I was going through intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy, but it wasn’t easy. See those shiny braces in the photo? They went up to my waist and weighed more than I did. I wore them for eight years. It was a struggle to get dressed in the morning. And then I had to go to school and face the teasing and bullying from classmates who just didn’t understand.
Some of my teachers embarrassed me by pointing out things I couldn’t do. To this day, whenever someone tells me “You can’t do this!” it makes me try harder. My dad would carry me on his shoulders so I could join in relay races with the other neighborhood
kids. Even though I had balance problems, I put on a helmet and knee-pads and taught myself to roller skate between the couch pillows on the floor.
It’s only now, as a walking, working, married adult with kids of my own, do I realize what my parents must have been going through. It was a scary time for them — little money, little hope, and nowhere to turn for help. I’ve since been told that if I hadn’t received the therapy when I did, I wouldn’t be walking today. Thanks to their persistence, and UCP, my story has a happy ending.
I know I was one of the lucky ones, and now I want to give back — I’m passionate about it, and I hope you are, too. I want to help ensure that every child with cerebral palsy, autism, cognitive or developmental challenges, or other disability — and their families — can get the help they need.
One kind deed changed my life. Will you do one
kind deed for someone with a disability?
From my family to yours,
PS. You can continue your support for UCP by shopping at UCP’s Tupperware fundraising page. Click Below!