Richelle on TV.

A Thank You to My 'Frenemy,' Cerebral Palsy


What would I say to you, cerebral palsy?

As a child I didn’t really know you very well at first. You introduced yourself to me at 11 months old. I began to understand “dis”ability at age 2. You had me cut open, rearranged and refocused. Scars from surgeries began to signify my strength. Not everyone has battle scars from their groin to their ankles. Not everyone understands that your pain became my persistence.

Therapy became restorative and salubrious emotionally, spiritually and physically. I can’t walk? What is that you say? You were my friend yet my competition, my frenemy. I was determined to beat you, one footstep at a time. CP, why would I allow you to hold me back? After all, I am so much more than my diagnosis. You don’t really know me. Only I know me!

Million Dollar Legs, agreed. Legs wobbly and unbalanced had this inner strength I wouldn’t have known without your teachings. Braces, you became my battle. Wheelchair, you became my warrior. Casts, you became my cause. Crutches, you became my cruise control. Cane, you became my comfort. Walker, you became my wisdom. I learned I had to do things differently, and that was OK. Imagine a world in which we were all the same?

I’m me. Proud of my differences, because without my struggles I wouldn’t have found my strength. It’s there. These legs signify my spirit. These arms signify my artillery. They pick me up when I fall. This heart, it signifies love. An open, honest perception that different is beautiful and love is just that. Love! Open, honest, true and without judgment.

As cliche as it may sound, I thank you, CP because without you I wouldn’t be me! I am who I am because of you. Would I change me? No! Only what others see. My platform and purpose is you. I want others to know you like I do. Knowledge, acceptance and understanding. We’re going to change the world, this CP and me.

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