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How Hope Has Helped Me Defy the Odds as a Person With Cerebral Palsy

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October 6, 2017 is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. I used to dread these dates. It took 20 years to accept the courage to start speaking about such a profound part of my life. Why should I put praise on something that makes me so different than everyone else when it is important to fit in and do the same things as everyone else?

collage of photos of a woman throughout her life

For 20 years I was hiding who I truly was. I even hid my emotions while pursuing my first college degree. I received my first degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences because I believed society wanted me to be a counselor because they believed I was not capable of the career I wanted. I wanted to help others find their potential, but I didn’t know how. How could I help others if I wasn’t true to myself? I now believe my calling is to share my story through writing about my daily life and overcoming obstacles.

cerebral palsy awareness tattoo that says 'I can, I will'

Sometimes it takes a best friend and a tattoo to open your eyes to the actual reason you were put on this earth. The motto behind cerebral palsy is to have hope in every situation. I didn’t really understand the meaning behind hope until my best friend told me how much of a difference I can make in my life and those around me when I share pieces of my story.

cartoon of friends talking with the text "lol what?"

I have had to have hope for my entire life. It was just often hidden from people, even from me. People would often think I wasn’t capable of breathing on my own, caring for myself, being independent or going to a mainstream school. I want to do everything everyone else can. I do, it just may take longer or have to be done differently. I am independent, I go to college and I even drive, but it isn’t easy.

woman sitting in the driver's seat of a car

I’ve had to have hope my entire life because how can I be sure I can do the same things everyone else can if my brain is damaged and my feet lost the connection on how to move independently because of that damage? Hope is the answer. Hope has made me defy odds and do many things others thought I couldn’t. As long as I (and you) believe in my precious heart I can do something, it will happen.

Remember that best friends, hope and faith can get you through anything. You were put on this earth to stand out, be different and tell a story no one else can.

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Originally published: September 28, 2017
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