March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day falling on March 25th. The day was started in 2006 by a cerebral palsy advocacy group. Today supporters, activists, and advocates celebrate by wearing the color green, using the #GoGreen4CP hashtag, and donating to organizations such as the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
What Is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month?
Over one million people in the U.S. are living with cerebral palsy. People living with this condition and those that love them use National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month to push for positive change in education programs, the healthcare system, and the job market.
During this month, those with disabilities, family members, and activists come together by wearing green bracelets, shirts, necklaces, and even face paint.
As National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month grows, more people living with the condition are coming forward to share their stories. They are fighting to be heard, and several organizations are working to make sure people with cerebral palsy and similar disabilities get a national voice.
History of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day
Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day has been a global event for over a decade. It was started in 2006 by the Reaching for the Stars (RFTS) advocacy group.
RFTS is run by parent volunteers who realized that — despite other awareness days for autism, down syndrome, and other disabilities — there was not a day that celebrated cerebral palsy.
RTFS wanted to bring greater attention to cerebral palsy and raise more research funding for this disability.
RFTS was also instrumental in establishing March 25th as National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day and designating that people wear the color green to show their support.
Since it was first celebrated, Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day has grown into a global event. Entire buildings around the world have been lit up with green to celebrate on March 25th, and the hashtag #GoGreen4CP was created to engage communities on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Over the past few years, a number of world-famous landmarks have “gone green” to celebrate Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, including Niagara Falls.
Even though the organizers are celebrating their accomplishments and their perseverance, they want to do even more to improve the lives of people with CP.
They want the voices of those with disabilities to be heard, and for conditions to change for the better so future generations will benefit.
How to Show Your Support
If you are looking to support those with cerebral palsy this March, you have plenty of different options.
To support Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, you can:
- Donate to organizations such as the Cerebral Palsy Foundation
- Join an advocacy group for those with cerebral palsy
- Share photos online
- Use the #GoGreen4CP hashtag on social media
- Wear the color green whenever you can
Another important step is to begin understanding the power of your language. One of the best things that an ally can do is to learn how to rephrase problematic sentences and to break down stereotypes.
For example, you want to make sure that you don’t make assumptions that people with disabilities are not competent.
You also want to make sure that you refer to someone with cerebral palsy as a person first. Remember that a cerebral palsy diagnosis doesn't define who someone is.
Spreading Cerebral Palsy Awareness
When schools, businesses, and other organizations talk about embracing diversity, it is important that they also include people living with disabilities.
The good news is that things are changing. Cerebral palsy organizations are having success in creating more awareness and improving conditions for the future.
And, each year, more and more people around the world are celebrating National Cerebral Palsy Month. But most importantly, people are committing to break down barriers and to help open up society to those with disabilities.
Whether you or someone you love is affected by cerebral palsy, there’s no easier way to show your support by simply wearing the color green. By doing so, you help spread awareness about this condition and uplift those affected.