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What Cerebral Palsy Has Given Me

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When I was a kid, I remember going to the occupational therapist and working on fine tuning my motor skills. It would take longer than the average kid, but I would eventually be able to walk on my own after many hours of trying and failing. I would go on to have my first major surgery in first grade, which would include three procedures in one long day.

I remember the braces, the hours spent in physical therapy where I would practice walking straight and with my shoulders up. I remember the times on the elementary school playground where I would be the last pick for the sports teams and trying to make myself run a little faster or jump a little higher. On the surface, it would seem that cerebral palsy has just made my life harder, and hasn’t benefited me in any way. However, looking back on it, I can see how that’s simply not true.

CP has given me so much; it has made me a stronger and more empathetic person. It’s taught me that no matter what anyone else says, I can do what I want to do; the only thing stopping me is how hard I want to work for it. It’s made it more difficult to walk and do certain tasks, sure. But all in all, CP has been a gift to me. It’s been a motivator, a challenger, something that has given me so much. I look back on all I’ve been through with CP and know that it’s made me who I am today.

This world would have me believe it’s what’s on the outside that counts. CP has made me believe otherwise. CP tells me that no matter what someone says or does, they cannot take away my grit or desire to succeed, something that’s been built up consistently over the years. When I leave this world, I don’t want to be known as someone with a disability. I want the world to know that this disability has been one of the greatest teachers I could have ever possibly known.

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Thinkstock image by An Syvanych.


Originally published: July 9, 2017
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