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To Children With Cerebral Palsy Who Feel Like They'll Never Be Accepted

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If I told you my life with cerebral palsy has been easy, that would be a lie. My body constantly aches, I struggle fitting orthotics in my shoes and have all kinds of doctors’ appointments and shots. If I told you growing up making friends was easy, that would be a lie, too. No one wanted to be the friend of the “disabled” girl, the one who looked a little different, couldn’t run very well and fell occasionally.

But I’m here to say to that little girl or boy — who feels alone, who feels different, who feels like no one understands, who feels like they’ll never be accepted by others — that it does get better. It just takes time and the right people.

Abigail McKee and her friends
Abigail (top) with her friends.

It’s taken me 22 years, but I can honestly say I have found my true friends. This especially came to light the other day on my birthday. They take on a different meaning to me since I have cerebral palsy. Birthdays mean that I survived being born at 3 pounds, 2 ounces when the odds were against me. I thrived in therapy and learned how to lead a “normal” life, and every year it just shows I made it to this present point in my life.

On this particular birthday, I had absolutely nothing planned. I just thought it’d be like a regular day with people saying, “Happy birthday,” occasionally. Let’s just say I was completely wrong in my assumption!

I was shown how loved I truly am. I woke up to see balloons in my hallway and streamers and banners on my door. Then more friends surprised me with donuts and coffee in bed. After that, I got whisked away by another friend to a birthday lunch and a trip to the mall. I came back from the mall with a homemade cake and a nice note waiting at my door step.

At this point, I was already overwhelmed by the love I had received all day, but little did I know it wasn’t over. The last adventure of the night was dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. This was no ordinary dinner by any means; my friend had planned a surprise party! I was overwhelmed with so much love and joy that I burst into tears. Never in my life have I had people do something so special for me. People celebrated me for who I am.

The moral of the story is don’t be ashamed of having a disability. Embrace it. People will see your big heart and zest for life. Your true friends will come along in time; just be patient. If people don’t want to take the time to get to know you, they’re the ones missing out, not you. And when you get those friends who accept you and love you unconditionally for who you are, be thankful and hang onto them as tight as you can.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us about a time someone in your community went above and beyond (or did the exact opposite) for you or your loved one with special needs. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: April 16, 2016
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