March 25th marks National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Originally created in 2006 by Reaching for the Stars (RFTS), a cerebral palsy advocacy group, this initiative is meant to educate, push for inclusion, and find a cure for cerebral palsy.
Families, supporters, and advocates celebrate this special day both on- and offline. Participants wear the color green, post on social media with the hashtag #GoGreen4CP, and celebrate the strong, brave men, women, and children who live with cerebral palsy.
What Is National Cerebral Palsy Day?
While the entire month of March is considered National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, March 25th is a nationally recognized holiday intended to focus support for those affected by this condition. This day serves to provide those in the community with a platform to come forward and share their stories while supporting one another.
Today also provides an opportunity to educate those outside of the cerebral palsy community about the condition. Those who wish to support the community can learn about life with CP and determine ways to be more inclusive towards those who live with it. Most importantly, it allows for people to learn how they can become long-term allies of the CP community.
How Can I Show My Support for the Cerebral Palsy Community?
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day is not intended for the CP community exclusively. Anyone who wishes to educate themselves and get involved can participate. No matter how big or small your actions may be, getting involved in any way can make a difference for those living with CP.
How to Make A Difference:
1. Get Social
Social media can be a great tool to raise awareness for CP. Post on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using popular hashtags related to CP, such as #CerebralPalsyCAN or #CerebralPalsyAwareness. This is an easy and important way to inspire others online and spread awareness.
2. Change The Way You Interact With People Who Have A Disability
Many people may not know how to interact with individuals who have a disability. In 2016, Cerebral Palsy Foundation created a new movement intended to teach abled people how to approach disabled people. This movement was coined the “Just Say Hi” campaign.
The message of this campaign remains relevant to this day. It pushes people to ask themselves what they believe is the best way to approach a conversation with someone who has a disability. Video responses were submitted by people everywhere, including pop culture stars, NFL players, and even Apple CEO Tim Cook.
3. Get Active Raising Awareness (It’s Easier Than You Think!)
There are a number of events that take place throughout the year that will not only provide you with an opportunity to support the CP community but also stay healthy and fit. There are countless fundraising events for CP held nationwide each year, including mountain climbing, horse racing, golf outings, kayaking, as well as 10k and 5k races. For more information about active fundraising events in your area, check with your local United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) branch.
4. Join Or Start A Fundraiser
If you’re unable to find or participate in an event in your area, you can easily start your own fundraiser. A fundraiser doesn’t always have to be a large event. You can bring your community together through bake sales, BBQs, or even through virtual events.
5. Donate To A Research or Support Organization
An easy way to show your support for the CP community is by making a contribution to a research or support organization. There are several CP organizations out there that help affected families by looking for a cure. Check with your local UCP branch for recommendations in your area.
6. Increase Your Knowledge
The more you know about cerebral palsy and its causes, the more you can inform those around you. Many people do not know a lot about CP, and what they do know may not be accurate. The more educated people are about this condition, the better life will be for those living with it.
While March may be coming to a close soon, that doesn’t mean there isn’t time left to get involved. No matter the time of year, you can still make a difference for those living with cerebral palsy. So, take a few minutes today if you haven’t already to celebrate National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.