On a rainy spring day in 2013, I was sitting in my office, contemplating a particularly moving conversation I had just had with a parent of a child living with cerebral palsy. As a parent of young children myself, this conversation left me feeling both humbled and inspired by the resilience and determination of this parent who was navigating a difficult road for her child. Every day she rose and fought for what she knew her child needed and deserved. What struck me most was that she fought this battle primarily alone, with little support and few who understood her world or the unique challenges faced by her child. This story was by no means unique – I have sat in the living rooms of countless families of children living with cerebral palsy and heard their accounts of tireless uphill battles with no or little support from the community.
That afternoon, I knocked on the door of the office of the Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia and I asked, “How can I help?” Thus began my volunteer work with the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC.
Over the past few years I have served on the board of directors of the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC, alongside a dedicated group of volunteers. Together we have brainstormed, strategized, planned and imagined all the ways in which our organization could make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with cerebral palsy. We have often paused to ask ourselves, “Do we really know what our members need?” In response to this very important question, we created an Advisory Committee of parents, medical professionals, and people living with cerebral palsy to guide and inform us of what is most needed, so that we could focus our limited resources in a way to make the greatest difference. We have learned a great deal from the volunteers on our Advisory Committee, but recognize we must remain in touch with and informed by our membership.
My goal during my term as president is to improve understanding, to build a community of support and resources, and to reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness that are all too common among individuals living with cerebral palsy, and their families.
In the simplest terms, the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC exists to improve the lives of people living with cerebral palsy. As I proudly assume the role of President of the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC, I ask, “How can I help?”