Last week I returned from my blogging hiatus, re-focused on cerebral palsy (CP) issues too. The timing and renewed direction proves fitting. In the United States March holds distinction as National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. With the month coming to a close though, I must ask a question. What happens now to cerebral palsy awareness?
Know you and I control the answer my friend. We can pack up the green cerebral palsy awareness ribbons. Let our cerebral palsy shirts become buried in our dressers. They sinking all the way down next to that mustard stained t-shirt you thought you threw away. Both actions say “We accept the current status quo.” At least until next March when we unpack the green ribbons and allow those shirts to resurface.
Or, you and I can keep the cerebral palsy awareness going. Build off this month’s momentum! How you ask? There remains multiple ways. Honestly I doubt I could compile a comprehensive list. So instead I will share how I plan to keep raising awareness. I hope sharing my plans will spark your own creativity and action.
Ironically years ago when I first heard about National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month I approached skeptically. I doubted the different CP awareness initiatives’ effectiveness. Did they really work? Or did all this “awareness” occur internally between those who already knew about CP? Opposed to becoming a cynic, I turned my skepticism into something useful.
Basically I set a challenge, one continuing to linger within me today. I am always seeking methods to journey beyond and tell those outside the CP community about cerebral palsy. My ongoing celebrity impression Youtube series accomplishes the aforementioned task. For example, “If Elwood Blues had cerebral palsy…” could reach Blues Brothers fans unfamiliar with CP.
Currently I plan to release my next impersonation video come May. In the meantime I am counting on my legs as another unique way to raise awareness. Yes, I am referencing my participation in road races.
Earlier in March I completed a 5k. Aiming to encourage conversation about cerebral palsy I wore my Handicap This “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” shirt plus my Cerebral Palsy Swagger wristband. Unfortunately Cleveland’s cold weather spoiled the fun by forcing me to cover up with a jacket. However I know other 5ks will offer me the opportunity to serve as a walking CP billboard.
Shrinking the World
Since I’m discussing walking, allow me to metaphorically backtrack. Previously I questioned CP awareness initiatives’ effectiveness. My main concern dealt with whether initiatives raised awareness outside the cerebral palsy community. Such an attitude dismisses the importance for awareness within our community.
Go ahead. Close your eyes. Reopen them nice and big to reread those last words, “the importance for awareness within our community.” Sounds nonsensical, right? After all if you fall into the cerebral palsy community category, you surely know about CP. Yet what you know as an individual pales in comparison to what you can know joining a community. I thank CPChatNow for teaching me that.
At times I forget how isolating living with cerebral palsy feels. Between CPChatNow and my daily “cerebral palsy” Google Alerts I’m pretty plugged into our community. I want others to reap the same communal rewards I enjoy. Therefore I am working on shrinking the world, or at least the cerebral palsy community.
My masterplan to shrink the world relies heavily on connections. Whenever I read an article I especially relate to I search for how I can make contact. If I relished relating to the person that much, maybe he or she will experience similar sentiments. Thus I explain what particularly I related to, mention my CP memoir Off Balanced, and end with an open invitation to join a live #CPChatNow Twitter chat.
How Will You Keep Cerebral Palsy Awareness Going?
Through cerebral palsy awareness CP becomes less intimidating for everyone. People outside the CP community feel more comfortable during interaction. Such temperament decreases chances for awkward situations.
Internally growing aware about others in the CP community lessens isolation. Together we can make living with cerebral palsy an easier task. Please do you, me, and our entire community a favor and keep cerebral palsy awareness going past March. Decide on how you can raise awareness and proceed with action.
Let others draw inspiration from your ideas too. Leave a comment and share how you will keep cerebral palsy awareness going!
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