The Children’s Cerebral Palsy Walk/Run: Where It All Started
Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement was officially born in February 2016 with a mission to improve the quality of life and futures for children with Cerebral Palsy. The nonprofit was inspired by my 8 year-old daughter, Maddie, in the Fall of 2014. Maddie longed for normalcy, and had a dream to participate in physical activities previously thought impossible for children with CP, as well as a desire for joy, friendships, and a sense of community. The nonprofit’s first endeavor was to successfully design and implement a cutting edge therapeutic dance program benefitting children with CP. Called “Ability Ballet”, it was a collaboration with UCI, CHOC Orthopaedic Institute, and Chapman, it was an incredible success, but we were not satisfied to stop there. The Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement board then began a season of planning ‘the next big thing’ – a comprehensive plan to unite and serve the CP community locally by providing important support, services, and resources to meet the daily needs of these children and their families.
In mid 2017 a respected board member, Bill Stephens, contacted me with an idea for a CP Kids Run that could include running buddies to help children needing more assistance, compliments of the Capo Valley Boys Cross Country Track Team. I was thrilled with the prospect, as this would be an amazing opportunity for CP families to meet each other, to exercise, and to learn about Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement. Not being a runner myself, though, I was unclear how to bring this vision to life affordably and effectively.
After months of research and the expert help of three avid runners on our board, a perfect opportunity presented itself, allowing us to collaborate with the City of Mission Viejo on their first annual Oso Fit Fun Run and Health Fair. Already charity minded, the city’s Recreation Manager agreed to include a Kids Walk/Run for children of all abilities, which gave an awesome opportunity for CCPM’s dream to come to life.
The result is a Cerebral Palsy ‘run within a run’…a perfect opportunity for CP children to participate in a safe and supported environment, side by side with their peers, and with other able-bodied children. The course options are ¼ & ½ mile, and are not only safe, but completely within view of parents and onlookers, for added enjoyment. Best of all, each child who participates will receive a medal, to celebrate their accomplishment. Afterward, as an event sponsor, Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement, will invite families to a brief post event reception.