We here at CPON are extremely interested in highlighting the inspiring words of Mid-Michigan residents affiliated with Cerebral Palsy in any way. Please send your story/experience to cpon@epi.msu.edu and we will review and place the stories on our site for everyone to enjoy.  

CPF Young Professionals

In September 2013, shortly after discovering her own CP diagnosis, Dalila Castillo founded the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

The YPC is a group of young men and women dedicated to philanthropic giving and raising awareness about CP.

Dalila’s Story: “A New Direction: Discovering My Cerebral Palsy” (publication date July 23, 2013)

A Real Jewell

Copyright The HUMOR Project, Inc 1989 -- All rights reserved
This first appeared in Laughing Matters Volume 5, Number 3

Geri Jewell is a jewel of a human being. This caring, talented comedienne's life has been a victory of the human spirit. She weighed three pounds at birth, and spent her first three months in an incubator. Cerebral palsy, a nervous system disorder reflected in the inability to control muscle movements, was diagnosed a year later.

Ordinarily, CP is no laughing matter. But Geri has found laughter to be the vehicle to transcend her disability, to pursue her show business career, and to enhance the public's understanding of the capabilities of those with disabilities.

"I don't believe in limits," she says. "So many people are afraid to try, afraid to fail. The real triumphs come when you get out of the safety zone and take risks. My comedy is about the human condition. I'm trying to tell people they should give themselves more credit, feel less victimized, not be stopped by the judgments other people put on them."

Geri has a quick mind, a ready quip, and a natural, infectious vivacity. It's wonderful being around her. She believes, "Humor should be a prescription for life. It's okay to take life seriously, but if you can't laugh at yourself, you lose the joy of living."

Image result for the facts of life tv showGeri has brought much joy and laughter to her audiences. She has worked major comedy clubs in Los Angeles and New York. In fact, Norman Lear "discovered" her on one such occasion, and before long, she found herself in a major role on NBC's THE FACTS OF LIFE prime-time series. She has made featured appearances at the White House, The Kennedy Center, and for numerous organizations and conventions throughout the country.

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Welcome To Holland

By Emily Perl Kingsley
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved .

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

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