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Dear Children With Cerebral Palsy: Life Is Bright for You

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Dear Children With Cerebral Palsy,

Hi! How’ve you been? It’s been roughly two years since I’ve written to you. A lot has happened to me since then and a lot has probably happened to you too. Maybe you went on a super fun trip to Disneyland or something. Maybe you have a new wheelchair or walker; maybe you got your first one. Maybe you had a surgery, which isn’t always fun. These things can be hard to go through, but in the long run they can be good things.

In my experience, growing up with cerebral palsy gives you two options: you can test your limits, or you can live within limits others set for you. You can be limitless or limited. It’s up to you to decide. I was raised to be limitless and to test my limits. I also had absolutely amazing examples of what this looked like. It is not by any means easy and I’m not trying to create this pretty perfect picture of what your life will look like. It will be hard and you will probably have meltdowns, but then again nobody’s life is easy.

There’s another side to it, a better, brighter side. Having a disability can give you some really cool opportunities. I honestly wouldn’t have done half the things I have if it weren’t for my CP. Nor would I have met a bunch of amazing people. I wouldn’t have gotten to speak on a panel at the United Cerebral Palsy conference in Portland, Oregon at 16 years old. I wouldn’t be in DanceAbility International’s professional performance company. I’ve gotten to tell my story and inspire others to keep going no matter what. I’m not sure if I’d even be writing these letters if I didn’t have CP. Sure, I’ve missed out on opportunities others have and I don’t but it’s worth it. I don’t know what opportunities you have coming, but I bet they’ll be awesome!

I know that walker or wheelchair you have can be annoying. It’s great, though! You can go places and hang out with friends. Those braces on your feet that you might not like, I feel you. I hated my braces when I was a kid, so much that I stopped wearing them. My knees hurt a lot now in part because I didn’t take care of them when I was younger. Take care of yourselves.

You are going to be such an amazing person and I am so excited to hear about the adventures you go on! Maybe one day you’ll be writing letters like these. Remember, keep your head held high and always try to find positives in life because there will be many, big and small.

— A Young Adult With Cerebral Palsy

Parents: If there’s something your child is going through, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to write some encouraging words for them.

Getty image by Kieferpix.

Originally published: June 12, 2019
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