LUBBOCK, Texas — Wednesday is World Cerebral Palsy Day — a day dedicated to recognizing and supporting the more than 17 million people worldwide affected by the disorder.
Cerebral Palsy is a congenital disorder that affects movement, muscle tone and posture, and about 500,000 people in the United States have one or more CP symptoms.
But for the Anders family in Lubbock, World Cerebral Palsy Day isn’t just a date on the calendar. It’s a reminder of their daily reality.
“She’s a super bright, super fun little kid … really, it doesn’t slow her down very much,” Chelsea Anders said of her six-year-old daughter Olivia who has CP.
Olivia is in first grade, and Anders said her “unstoppable” daughter does everything from ballet to cheerleading to T-ball.
“She’s a very social kid. She likes to do, do, do,” Anders said.
While Olivia depends on others to help her move around, Anders said her daughter is without a doubt an “independent” little girl.
“This is what CP looks like for our family, but CP looks very differently for other people,” Anders said.
The family wanted to remind people this day signifies more than simply raising awareness.
“[CP] is a big part of our life, but it is not something that defines Olivia or our life,” Anders said.
Instead, she added, the day is also about inclusion and making society more accessible for everyone.
“When you see someone [with CP], you don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to think any differently. The people that have CP are the same as you and me … We include people like Olivia in our communities because they make our communities better,” Anders said.