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Alice Mathew's Fundraiser:

Because We Love Niti Patel

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Alice Mathew

THE STORY:

I was born on March 15, 1993 in Brooklyn, NY. My mother gave birth to me five days after her due date, and at the time of birth I was a breech baby (I was born upside down). At the time, my parents didn't know what that meant or could result in. As the months flew by, they began noticing that I would fist my left hand into a ball and hold it tight to my body. Even though I was extremely young, they felt that something was wrong. Along with my hand, my left foot seemed "abnormal". My parents thought that at almost a year old, I should be able to stand with a prop, with something to lean on - but nothing. So, they went to the hospital, and at 8 months old, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. There is a slight bruise on the right hemisphere of my brain, affecting the functions of the limbs and other parts of the left side of my body. Now, any website can tell you what CP is, what parts of the body are affected, but experiencing it is so much more.

Cerebral Palsy, is not realizing that your hand is doing something you don't want it to do. Or it not do what your brain tells it to do. For me, it means not being able to walk like a normal person until the age of 7, when all the children your age are out riding bicycles, you're in a bright, lemon yellow cast covered in teddy bears at home wishing to be with everyone else. Wishing to be "normal". It's having an AMAZING 2nd grade teacher who found Shriner's Hospital in Tampa, FL. The one place that understood me, my condition, and vowed to help me be the best I could be. But regardless of being finally able to walk, in the back of mind, I couldn't help but wonder if people would laugh at me, if they could notice the limp I had. I wondered if anyone knew how self-conscious I was about everything.

Years later, I've learned that my CP doesn't define me; in fact, it has done NOTHING but made me a stronger person. Because I've CP, I've learn how to deal with pain - both physical and mental. I've learned how to cope with having a weak hand, a hand that functionally is useless, but I know I wouldn't be live to live without it. I know that the piercing pain in my lower back is only a test. I'm being tested on my strength and I can PROUDLY say that I've passed this test, along with the millions others who are going through the same, if not worse.

CP has no cure, but millions have this medical condition. Although we all embody strength, CP is not something we can close the door on. It's something we need to bring to light. We need to reach out to those who have it, and never let any one - adult or child - feel like they are abnormal or don't fit in. Spreading the word may not find a cure, but I promise you, it'll make any person coping feel like someone cares. A feeling that nothing can top.

"What doesn't kill me can ONLY make me stronger."

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4 years ago