7/9 Update: Hi everyone! Sorry that it's been so long since the last time I updated this page. I wanted to focus on some other projects for awhile, but it's time to get back to helping UCP like they've helped me!! In early June, I started Steps to Independence therapy at UCP. It is an intensive therapy program designed to get a lot of improvement for patients in a short amount of time (about one month). I have been going 3 days a week for 2.5 hours a session. I have been learning how to use certain yoga positions to stretch out my muscles (it actually gives me some relief from the occasional back pain I get from the way my hips are positioned when I sit which was a great surprise.) I've also been doing exercises that strengthen my abdominals (which will help me a great deal), obviously some with my legs and arms. Although the main difference that I notice has been that I feel stronger and can stand well for longer periods and I have better balance while using my arms for things in a standing position (two great things). Others have been noticing particularly a difference in my walking which I guess is from the strengthening.
Now for some fun stuff: Today, early this morning I had my first experience with what is called hand-cycling. It is a bike that is lower to the ground that you use your hands to pedal. I rode about 2-3 miles on a trail. To put that in somewhat of a perspective, I know it's not a perfect comparsion, but just to give you an idea a mile for me walking has never been possible, so just to hear that I've traveled at least a couple miles, even if it was biking was amazing for me.
This brings me to my next point, on August 7, the day I've set for the current goal I will be a small part of a triathalon for UCP. I'm an unofficial team member on my favorite therapist's team who offered me the challenge of walking the last mile of the event with her. As I said, I've never been able to do that before (not enough endurance and asthma), so that was awesome!!
My goal is to raise $400 by August 7! Please help me make a difference and provide assistance through United Cerebral Palsy to children and adults with Cerebral Palsy and other similar conditions! As someone who has CP, I will say that seeing someone, anyone who sends a message that they want me or others with CP to succeed and lead independent lives, it means more to me than I can ever explain! My goal in life is to walk independently without a walker, without any assistance.I know that without the help of the therapy I have received and plan to receive at UCP, I would not even believe that such a feat is possible. I've seen first-hand the agressive and incredible therapy provided by UCP. They have the most intense (this is very good because people are pushed to their limits and without that happening they cannot reach their full potential) therapy program I've seen and I've had physical therapy at many different places and I believe that UCP is the only organization that I've come across which is not to say that others aren't helpful, that has found ways and works tirelessly to find new ways to help people with mainly CP and some other physical difficulties reach their true potential and helps individuals reach their goals!
United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland is an organization that works to improve the lives of individuals with a condition called Cerebral Palsy or CP. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this condition, it is characterized by an inability to fully control motor function, particularly muscle control and coordination.
If you would like to learn more about Cerebral Palsy, please visit UCP's website. They even have personal stories like mine as well as stories about how therapy and other methods can improve the quality of life of these individuals.
Why you should donate:
It is estimated that some 550,000 - 764,000 children and adults in the United States manifest one or more symptoms of cerebral palsy. Currently, about 9,750 babies and infants are diagnosed with the condition each year.
Cerebral Palsy does not worsen; however, it can be improved through Physical and/or Occupational therapy and medical treatments.
I actually have mild CP (spastic diplegia) myself and walk with a walker. I have always tried to not let it affect me, but at times it can be hard. Without organizations like UCP and the therapy they provide I would not be as independent and as close to "normal" as I am, but not everyone is as fortunate as I am, many people with CP are in wheel chairs and some struggle with basic tasks. The most common form is spastic diplegia, the form I have which mainly affects lower extremities (my legs and feet) making muscles tight. In order to overcome this tightness, I like many people with the condition or at least this form of it must work much harder to do even simple things than someone else since the tightness strains movement. Now please don't believe I am much different than any other person. That is not the case at all. I have control of my entire body, it is just a lot harder to balance etc. which is why I use my walker; however, like most individuals with CP, I will never give up hope and I believe that if I work hard enough and get enough help from therapists and others I will one day, the sooner the better, walk completely independently with no walker, no crutches, and no assistance.
Most of all, people with cerebral palsy desire the opportunity for independence and full inclusion in our society and services offered by UCP of Greater Cleveland help improve the lives of individuals with Cerebral Palsy and other physical conditions in the Greater Cleveland area.
So, if you would like to give a child or an adult affected by this condition a better quality life, please donate whatever you can, NOW!!