Community Advisor — Karen Pleasant

I was born about 10 weeks premature, weighing barely over 4 lbs.  As a child, I was always told that CP wasn’t progressive so I went on with life, graduating high school & attending college.  After two years, due to financial constraints, I returned home, landed a full-time job & registered in night classes.  Since this was the pre-online era, class was immediately after work at least twice a week.  Enduring this schedule once was not enough; the second time resulted in an MBA.
 
Cerebral Palsy’s presence is not evident until I am ambulatory. Assistive devices were never prescribed, but there was a dual hamstring lengthening surgery at age 10.

After living as if my functionality wouldn’t change until my elder years, and working out 2-3 times per week, reality set in. Stenosis caused my spinal canal to resemble a pin hole. The resulting lumbar surgeries were the catalyst to finding a cause because I want to maintain my independent life at all costs. Once I was blindsided with the diagnosis, the quest for answers began.

Due to the limited resources available for those who are no longer within the pediatric realm, Cerebralpalsypositive.org was launched to share information on aging with CP. From my perspective, goals have not been unattainable due to Cerebral Palsy….if you want it badly enough, perseverance prevails. Those that weren’t attained were because of the misperception of others which I initially attempted to find a way around.

The work of this panel will guide perceptions in the right direction.