Category Archives: Advocacy

Cerebral Palsy Blogger Nominated at Women of Influence Awards

Via: Stuff.co.nz

By: Matthew Cattin

With an IV line sticking out of one arm, Grace Stratton used the other to type her first blog post from a hospital bed.

It was November 2015, and she was about to undergo her sixteenth surgery in as many years.

Now 17, the Warkworth resident’s writing has taken off, and has seen her nominated for the Young Leader category of this year’s Women of Influence Awards.

Born with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, Grace noticed at a young age that she stood out.

“My entire life – because I’m disabled – everything I did, people paid more attention to it,” she said.

“Even just simple things like making my own cups of tea or being independent, people took more notice. As I got older and became an adult, I realize that gave me power.”

Grace used the power of her platform to her advantage, and took up blogging.

Utilising her website, Facebook page and Instagram, Grace produces regular content for her followers, and for herself.

“I haven’t just been hooked on it because I enjoy it – I’ve been hooked on it because of necessity as well. It’s something that I need to do for my own sanity,” she said.

“The real world is quite difficult for me to navigate around. I find it hard to get from place to place.

“There’s very little that I can do without difficulty, but the internet and computer is one thing that I am able to do without problems.”

Grace says she gets her mindset from her family, and finds inspiration in disability advocates Robbie Francis and Jess Quinn.

She also admires the work of social media influencers Logan Dodds and Jesse James Cassrels whom Grace accompanied on a jet ski adventure in April.

“I admire the way they chased dreams and hustled without apology, and they’re always there to help,” she said.

Grace says the best influence empowers people to have the confidence to make a change.

“It’s not just about influencing a community – it’s about influencing people to know that the responsibility is on them. They have the power to make changes in their situation.”

1700 Miles in 28 Days: Father and Son Run for CP Awareness

By: Clint DeRoze

Via: Valley News Live

1700 miles in 28 days.

That’s the goal of Shaun Evans and his son Shamus.

Shamus was born with cerebral palsy, making it difficult for him to move freely.

When his parents first heard the news, they were worried about what this meant for their son going forward.

“We were concerned that he wasn’t going to be able to do everything. But whatever way we could make it happen so that he could participate as fully as he could, we were going to do that” says Shaun.

And Shamus did more than even they could imagine.

“He skis in the winter and he horseback rides and he plays adaptive sports and obviously running and we do triathlons together so Shamus continues to dream big and we work to make those dreams a reality,” says Shaun

Last year, Shaun and Shamus ran from coast to coast participating in 5Ks all along the way.

This year, they have a new goal.

Starting here in Moorhead, the pair plans to meet up with the Mississippi river and go all the way south to the Gulf of Mexico.

While Shaun has always been supportive, Shamus has been the driving force behind this initiative.

“Shamus is the man behind the mission. I’m the legs, but he’s the dreamer,” says Shaun

“He wants to be involved as much as he possibly can. Even though his legs don’t work like mine do, I have the opportunity to lend him my legs.”

Along the way, they’ll be handing out specially designed chairs so people like Shamus can be as active as they want to be.

The pair ran in support of Ainsley’s Angels, a national organization that helps pair disabled runners with those specially designed chairs.

Shaun and Shamus will now be on their way to Detroit Lakes for the next leg of their journey.

Man with Cerebral Palsy Cycles Around Ireland on a Modified Bike

By: Sherman Wright

Via Independent.ie

Ireland-Cerebral-Palsy-BicycleJack Thompson cycled from London to Liverpool and earlier this week he boarded a ferry to Belfast where he now plans to continue across the country.

He was met along the route by Balymena native Sherman Wright who was bowled over by the inspiring story.

Mr Thompson said he had just arrived in Ireland and he was expecting his route to become “a lot more hilly” ofver the coming days.

Mr Thompson said: “It’s wonderful and the people are lovely, they’re really friendly.”

Wright said he was particularly moved by Mr Thompson’s story because his nephew Darren also had cerebral palsy.

Asked how he deals with the long distances, Mr Thompson said: “I’m good with dealing with the pain, it allows you to go on forever. It took me five years of progression to get to that stage.

“I would like to get sponsored to do longer cycles. I would like to take the whole year and do big distances.”

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