The charity organization Reaching for the Stars started Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month in 2006 to help educate the populace about cerebral palsy (CP). In 2014, they started the GoGreen4CP campaign that provides informational resources and promotional visibility all over the country.
Inspired by St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the campaign capitalizes on the color green to promote awareness throughout the month. Advocates have secured buildings in all 50 states that will light up in green in collaboration. These efforts are essential, as there is much still understood about CP.
What we know about CP
CP is a mysterious disorder in both how it affects people and responds to treatment. The kind of medical attention one receives for their CP largely depends on the perspective of a family physician. Some basic facts about CP include:
- Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability among children.
- CP affects one in every 500 newborns.
- CP manifests because of a brain injury or malformation sustained while the brain is developing.
- About 1 million people in the U.S. have CP. There are over 17 million cases worldwide.
- There is no known cure, but treatments go a long way toward improving quality of life.
- Symptoms manifest differently in each case.
March 25 is officially Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. RFTS has several social programs, including the school-inclusion program Just Say Hi, that use this day to help educate others.
How to be an advocate
In 2019, Reaching for the Stars joined the Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF), increasing its available resources to promote advocacy. To be an ally, CPF recommends employers take measures to hire people with disabilities and use universal design to construct their office spaces. CPF also provides education on language and how rephrasing overlooked words and colloquialisms can help people feel welcome.
For those having difficulty securing disability benefits or any other legal matters involving birth-related trauma, working with sympathetic legal counsel with experience advocating for sick or disabled children can help deal with employers, insurance providers and the courts.