For Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month 2020, CP Teens UK proudly launched #31Faces - 31 faces, 31 stories, 31 days. In this campaign, each day throughout March 2020 we shared the life and the story of a youngster with Cerebral Palsy. By doing so, we aimed to show the world how no two people with Cerebral Palsy are the same and iron out common misconceptions that are often made for young people with physical disabilities.
Matheus is 8-years old and has Bilateral Spastic Cerebral Palsy as a result of being premature. Matheus's Cerebral Palsy means that his balance and coordination affected, meaning that simple tasks are much harder for him. Matheus is not able to sit, stand, feed, walk or meet his basic needs independently.
Matheus's Mum says that he is "the most determined, cheeky, messy and loving 8-year-old you could ever meet!". Matheus is an easy-going person who is always happy and smiling.
Matheus is an intelligent young boy who understands everything that is being said to him and he loves to interact with people.
Matheus has no learning disabilities - he says he really doesn't like it when people assume that he's got a learning disability because of having a physical disability. Matheus says that he "gets very disappointed when people don't give me time to answer or to do something". He also says that he is "completely sad when people do not let me join in on activities or leave me out because I'm a wheelchair user". Matheus also finds it "irritating" when people baby him as a result of his physical disability.
Things that are important to Matheus are:
- Family & friends
- People to chat to
- A social life
- Being included
- People who trust me in my abilities and those who give me challenges
- People who don't see me as a baby
Matheus says, "Never give up, if you fall over, smile and try and try again! Always believe in yourself - you are always able to do everything in your own way and time."
Maddy is 22-years-old and has Hemiplegia, which affects her right side as well as her balance, movement and coordination. Maddy also experiences some processing issues when in large groups. She is funny, kind, adventurous, happy and always up for a laugh!
She has recently graduated from University where she studied BA Hons Sport Development. She is also a Para Platform Diver and is the only diving coach in the UK with Cerebral Palsy!
Maddy also enjoys skiing alongside her diving. She has recently set up her own blog and hopes to go into motivational speaking.
Away from sport, you will find Maddy getting lost in a good book!
Maddy says that if she could change one thing for other young people with disabilities it would be more social and sport inclusion - she'd like to see it being easier for young people with disabilities to be included and to receive the same opportunities as able-bodied people.
Maddy says, "If someone says you can't do something, don't be put off - try and go for it!"
Chloe is 21-years-old and has mild Spastic Triaplegic Cerebral Palsy, which for Chloe means muscle tightness mainly in her legs and left arm, as well as problems with balance, coordination, movement and depth perception.
Chloe has a degree in Psychology and she works full time from home. Chloe also loves writing and raising honest awareness about living with a disability.
Chloe says she hates it when people assume that her full time role is a voluntary position and also when people assume that she isn't in a relationship.
In addition to having Cerebral Palsy, Chloe is also visually impaired - she says that people often assume that she has no vision at all because she uses a long cane.
Chloe says, "Judge me on my abilities and the things that I am capable of, rather than seeing me as less."
If Chloe could change one thing for young people with physical disabilities, it would be "for them to feel less alone. There are so many disabled people going through the same things. It's tough and you don't have to do it alone".
In the future, Chloe would like to continue her blogging work and get disability content into the mainstream media. She'd also love to write a book about her experiences with Cerebral Palsy and education, as well as becoming a freelance journalist.
Abbie is 24-years-old and has Cerebral Palsy. Abbie says "it's a life that brings me some challenges, but I'm not sure I mind that, so bring it on!".
Abbie's grandma describes her as "brave, compassionate, fun loving and very determined". In her spare time, Abbie enjoys shopping, going to the cinema, watching TV & movies and chilling out.
Abbie is a Paralympian and she was on Team GB at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where she came 4th in the Women's F32 Club Throw - in the future, Abbie would like to win 3 Paralympic medals, including a Gold, and she'd like to break the world record! Outside of sport, in the future she'd like to get married and be a Mum.
Abbie says it's really important to her to be treated like everyone else and she hates it when no one gives her time to speak her mind.
Abbie says that if she could change one thing for young people with physical disabilities it would be accessibility to get into places. Abbie says she would also change people's attitudes - disabled people are not stupid!
Abbie says, "Enjoy yourself! Nobody can tell you that you can't!"
Jonathan is 14-years-old and has Choreo-Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. As the Author of 'Eye Can Write' and the Founder of the charity 'Teach Us Too', Jonathan has already achieved a lot in his young life.
"Like a monster trapped in my frame, cerebral palsy pulls my muscles tight then lets go of the ropes, watching me flop forward; and laughs. It’s a throwing it’s head back sort of laugh, which echoes in my mind. Snatching the words from my mouth, mixing the sounds in my ears, and frustrating the tastes for my tongue, cerebral palsy grew fat and powerful in my early years; often building itself a celebratory bonfire to roast marshmallows under my skin.
But its complacency became its nemesis; it hadn’t gained enough control over my eyes. So, with my eyes I can speak of its torture. Although like a wounded villain it is now intent on wreaking the most havoc – rolling my eyes out of view, yanking me tight and vibrating the wires, it saps all my energy to use for its own. Knowing its end is in sight it has nothing to lose. For the most important part of me has been locked from the monster forever; and however hard he has stamped and built fires on it and even stroked it, he cannot gain access to my soul. And he knows, and I know, that my soul is being called back to Jesus’ garden where no monsters have ever been."
Jonathan is passionate about every child being taught to read and write despite their educational label. Jonathan hates it when it is assumed that non-verbal people should be treated like toddlers. He says he is "outraged when those same assumptions mean that many non-verbal children like me are not taught to read or write".
In Jonathan's free time you will find him baking, writing, reading, listening to classical music, playing Lego, teasing his sisters and seeking solace with his dog!
Jonathan says, "Live life in all its fullness!".
Aoife is 10-years-old and has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. For Aoife this means that she is unable to walk independently and therefore uses sticks and a wheelchair to get around. It can also sometimes effect how Aoife learns and she sometimes can have seizures.
Aoife is a funny, chatty, kind and helpful young lady. She is a twin as well as a younger sister and she attends a conductive education school. In the future,
Aoife hopes to go to University to study Conductive Education to become a teacher. She'd also like to marry Noah from 'The Next Step' and learn to drive a blue car when she's 16 so she can drive her twin sister to school!
Aoife loves to sing and recently she performed on stage in front of 250 people! In her free time you will find Aoife playing wheelchair basketball, dancing in her dance class for children with additional needs, playing on her iPad with her sister and going to the cinema.
Aoife says she hates it when people just stare rather than coming over and saying hello or if they treat her like a baby as she's small for her age.
Aoife would like to see more disabled children on the TV, in pop bands and in books - she is currently reading a book by David Baddiel that features a disabled character. Aoife would also love to see a wheelchair version of Strictly Come Dancing!
Friends & family are extremely important to Aoife, as well as being kind.
Aoife says, "Take one step at a time and always try your best!".
Cat is 23-years-old and has Left Hemiplegia meaning that the left side of her body is affected by Cerebral Palsy. As a result, the right side of her body can over-compensate often leaving her fatigued and with pain.
Cat is a model and has also recently graduated from University with a Law degree.
A common misconception Cat can receive is that people can assume that she doesn't have a disability as she can walk and appear 'normal'. Cat also doesn't like it when people assume that she isn't an outgoing person because she has a disability - she says, "I prefer to be invited out to do something rather than people assuming that I can't".
Cat values individuality and says that people describe her as quirky and unique. In her free time, Cat likes to chat on social media to her friends and play on the Sims.
Cat would like to see more representation and inclusion of disability in the media. In the future, Cat hopes to represent disability through her modelling and to be happy!
Cat says, "Don't let your struggle become your identity!".
Gavin is 19-years-old and has Ataxic Cerebral Palsy, which affects his balance, coordination and speech. As a result, Gavin uses a walker to support his walking and a communication device to help him speak.
Gavin says he's "super excited" to be involved in the #31Faces campaign as "everybody with Cerebral Palsy has a different experience to share and it is important that those experiences are shared".
People describe Gavin as very determined and competitive. Gavin is an athlete and last November, Gavin won Gold in the men's 100m RaceRunning race at the World Para Athletic Championships in Dubai!
Gavin hates it when people with Cerebral Palsy are underestimated, he says "Although there are many challenges for us in our daily lives, we can still achieve the that everyone else can. That might mean taking a different path to everyone else but that doesn't mean we are not capable of reaching the same goals."
It is really important for Gavin to be able to give other people with Cerebral Palsy a voice and says this is why he got involved with CP Teens UK. He says, "hopefully my work with CP Teens UK inspires others to speak about their experiences".
If Gavin could change one thing for other young people with physical disabilities it would be the exam systems in education. Completing exams with a physical disability can be challenging and Gavin says, "people like me are having to sit for 6/7 hours in order to complete just one exam. An exam system that is focused more on assignments rather than exams would make a massive difference to those with physical disabilities".
In his free time, if he's not training, you will find Gavin watching sport or listening to podcasts. During the winter, he also likes to ski!
In the future, Gavin hopes to compete at the Paralympics! He says, "to compete for my country at the Paralympic Games has always been my dream ever since I first got involved in RaceRunning at a young age".
Gavin says, "Strive to achieve - I find it always better to have a goal to work towards to keep you motivated. It doesn't have to be a big goal, but it should be personal to you!"
Abbie is 24-years-old and has Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. For Abbie, this causes bad leg pains, fatigue and difficulty with coordination. Also, when she is really tired, it heightens her senses which can cause discomfort and bad headaches.
Abbie has started her own talent agency - The Dazey Hills Company. Abbie makes a lot of her own films as well as helping her actors and actresses to get parts in productions.
Abbie says she hates it when she doesn't know how to explain her disability to people as her Cerebral Palsy is mild. She often struggles to know when to bring it up, if at all.
Abbie's ambition is really important to her, she says "I would never forget it, even if I'm not feeling well".
In her free time, you will find Abbie writing and thinking of new ideas for films.
If Abbie could change one thing for young people with physical disabilities it would be to create more awareness of Cerebral Palsy. Abbie feels that there is not much support for young adults with Cerebral Palsy and that not many people know what Cerebral Palsy is.
Abbie says, "If you need a nap, take one! Or, try and do something creative everyday!"
Chloe is 24-years-old and has Spastic Diaplegic Cerebral Palsy, which affects her legs meaning that she uses a walker to help her walk.
Chloe has a full-time job, she drives a car and spends a lot of time having fun with her friends & family. Chloe says, "Whilst my disability is a part of my identity and is something that I'd never change, I am also much more than the label that is attached to me as a result of having a disability". If Chloe could change one thing for other young people with physical disabilities it would be for people to know that whilst a physical disability is part of someone's identity, it doesn't define them and they're capable of achieving many things!
Chloe hates it when people assume that she wouldn't be living an incredibly happy life and assume she doesn't have certain things that other people her age routinely have such as a job, a degree and the ability to drive a car.
Family & friends, independence and her job are all extremely important to Chloe, she says that they allow her to "live the life that I do, full of all the things I love the most!".
In Chloe's free time you'll find her spending time with her family & friends, going to the theatre and music concerts and swimming - she is currently training for the Superhero Tri Series later this year!
In the future Chloe hopes to see equal opportunities for disabled people in all areas of life and also to see an increasing number of disabled people in the media as well as high profile positions. Chloe wants to see these not as one offs, but as normal and everyday occurrences.
Chloe says, "If you put your mind to anything that you dream, with hard work and determination you can achieve it!"
Georgia is 20-years-old and has Spastic Diaplegic Cerebral Palsy with Ataxic and Dystonic elements. Georgia's Cerebral Palsy affects all 4 of her limbs, her pelvis, her trunk and her head control as well as her speech causing dysarthria. Both of Georgia's fine and gross motor skills are affected and she cannot walk far without experiencing fatigue meaning that she uses a wheelchair.
Georgia is currently studying Occupational Therapy at University. Georgia says, "I chose this because my OT had a big impact on me and if I can just make even half the impact they made on me, it'll be worthwhile".
Georgia doesn't like it when people make assumptions about her disability. She says that as a result of her speech impairment, people often assume that she has a learning disability and can therefore patronise her. An example of this is when Georgia took A Level Maths - people automatically assumed she was resitting her GCSE Maths.
Another assumption that Georgia experiences is when people assume that she is drunk when on a night out. Georgia says that she finds this very frustrating and that she has often had to discuss her needs with bouncers just to gain entry to night clubs as well as ensuring she carries her Access Card with her to prove that she's not drunk.
Having a social life and spending time with family & friends is extremely important to Georgia. She says, "I'm passionate about OT and I'm fully dedicated to my studies, however I'm a big believer in a work. There are many more things in my life that I love and that I want to invest my time in, and my family & friends are a big one".
If Georgia could change one thing for other young people with physical disabilities it would be the correct and incorrect disability related terminology. Georgia says, "For example, a lot of people say to me 'I don't see you as disabled' and this comment annoys me because I feel like as if people don't see my disability then they're missing a big part of me".
In her free time, you will find Georgia blogging - she has her own blog, 'Not So Terrible Palsy'. Georgia says, "I like blogging about my disability and OT as the online community has played a major role in helping me to accept my disability".
In the future, Georgia hopes to graduate from University and continue to climb the OT career ladder. Georgia also hopes to be more independent and confident in her ability to be able to get a train independently to visit friends. She says, "I also would like to explore the world with a significant other one day I’m in no rush to find my significant other, but I’d like to think that I don’t have a long wait ahead. I mean who else is going to be there when I tackle the Eiffel Tower?!"
Georgia says, "Seek every opportunity that comes your way. However, if something is too much don’t be afraid to turn it down and seek a little extra support. Saying no can be hard but putting your needs first is always the best solution."
Luca is 11-years-old and he has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. For Luca, this means that he is unable to walk and he has difficulties with his fine motor skills.
However, in Luca's words, "It doesn't effect my sense of adventure!".
Luca wanted to tell you himself all about him and his Cerebral Palsy. Video: https://www.facebook.com/CPTeensUK/videos/787465125074079/
Dylan is 19-years-old and has Hemiplegia, which affects the left side of his body. His weaker foot makes it difficult for Dylan to balance and walk. As a result, Dylan wears a splint to help him.
Dylan loves performing and singing. He also loves to make people laugh.
Dylan says, "I hate it when people mock your disability because they think you're not able to understand what they're doing and that your feelings can still get hurt".
Things that are really important to Dylan include getting into college, his family & friends and getting to perform on stage as much as possible.
If Dylan could change one thing for youngsters with physical disabilities it would be for them to be able to have the same number of opportunities and clubs available to them as everyone else.
In Dylan's free time he likes to play on his Nintendo Switch with his friends, go RaceRunning and attend his theatre club where he also likes to attend the discos with his friends.
In the future, Dylan aspires to be a famous performer on stage as well as a singer.
Dylan says, "Don't let negative people get you down and never give up!"
Toby is 14-years-old and has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. His Cerebral Palsy effects him in many ways. Toby is a full-time wheelchair user, he says "I am confined to my chair and means I can only go where people want me to go at the pace they want to push me at". Toby is also non-verbal, however he has a yes/no response system. Toby says, "many people do not wait for me to respond or often talk over me".
Toby also has Epilepsy, which has stopped him from attending school and means he can face long hospital stays. Toby says, "Overall, my dependency on others is frustrating - it also means that I am often not allowed too far away from my mother, and at the age of 14 that’s a little bit grating!".
Toby wants people to know that although he is unable to speak, he has all of his buttons switched on! Toby says, "I am fully here despite not being able to talk in the way most others can. It annoys me immensely when people talk over me like I am either not here or not smart enough to make my own decisions. I am 14 and have the mental age of a 14-year-old too!"
Toby doesn't like it when people assume that he can't do certain things. For example, Toby can walk short distances with assistance, stand with his frame, bounce on his trampoline and ride his pony, Betty.
Things that are really important to Toby are his family & friends. Toby's sister is always there to include him in activities such as baking, whilst Toby's brother ensures that he can do wild things such as quad biking and galloping on horses! Toby says, "I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and love making Mummy nervous with my antics!". Toby also loves all of his animals - horses, dogs, chickens and cats. He likes feeding them every morning and ensuring that they are getting enough exercise as well as petting.
If Toby could change one thing for other youngsters with physical disabilities it would be accessibility. He says he would "make everywhere as accessible as possible with appropriate facilities, especially with regards to disabled toilets. The new changing places are fantastic and give me the dignity and comfort to change that I need. Other than that, I have to be carried and laid on a dirty disabled toilet floor with my chair outside due to space".
In his spare time, you will find Toby riding his pony or walking his dog. He also likes to listen to music, especially George Ezra and Ed Sheeran!
In the future, Toby hopes to be head groom at his brother's polo yard. He also hopes to complete his History GCSE once he has the correct technology that enables him to communicate and answer questions.
Toby says, "Gallop faster than your last seizure!"
Abbie is 22-years-old and has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. For Abbie this means that she uses a wheelchair to get around, although Abbie is able to walk with assistance either from somebody or with a walker.
Abbie is a bubbly and funny young lady who is always laughing. Abbie works hard in the gym with a personal trainer. She also has her own blog where she writes about her day-to-day life living with Cerebral Palsy.
Abbie hates it when people talk to the person that she is with and assumes that she doesn't understand. Abbie says, "This frustrates me because I am smart and I do know what is going on around me. I like it when people understand that I have a physical disability and not a mental disability".
Something that is really important to Abbie is her family as well as her independence. Abbie says, "Without these I don't think I would of achieved as much as I have. My independence has made me a lot stronger and now I can do some things for myself and don't have to rely on my family as much. I know I have quite a long way to go still but I am getting more independent".
If Abbie could change one thing for youngsters with physical disabilities it would be the opportunities and the places to go that are available, as well as the independence and skills to feel that they have a goal in a safe and stimulating environment.
In Abbie's spare time you will find her at the gym, shopping, blogging, watching Netflix, reading and listening to books/audiobooks, on social media and playing with her dog.
In the future Abbie hopes to become a successful blogger/writer or even a social media influencer for people with disabilities!
Katie is 14-years-old and has Diaplegic Cerebral Palsy, which effects her legs and the way that she walks. As a result, Katie uses sticks and a walker, as well as a wheelchair for long distances. Her leg muscles become really tight so she has to do daily physiotherapy. Katie also has difficulty with coordination.
Katie loves to go to school and she loves to write - she'd like to be a writer in the future. Katie has recently become a model and has appeared at London Fashion Week as well as Leicester Fashion Week. She also has her own blog where she writes about her life and her experiences with Cerebral Palsy.
Katie hates it when people stare and it is something that she experiences a lot. Katie says, "I wish people would just ask me instead. I have lots of people say to me "oh, have you had an accident?". Katie also hates it when people feel sorry for her, she says "I don’t need them to. I have a great life and I am spreading awareness for Cerebral Palsy!".
Something that is really important to Katie is being accepted as well as spreading awareness of Cerebral Palsy. Katie says, "this is why I write blogs about my life with Cerebral Palsy - I share my ups and downs and it really helps me".
If Katie could change one thing for youngsters with physical disabilities it would be to get opportunities like everyone else does. Katie says, "Sometimes disabilities stop us from doing certain things and people don’t allow us to do it, but how do you know we can’t do it if we don’t get that chance? That’s why I try and do everything - to show people that we can do things you can do".
In Katie's spare time you will find her either reading a book or writing, as well as seeing friends. Katie also tries to blog once a month.
Katie says, "Never compare yourself to anyone else, you are you and you are amazing! You can achieve anything you put your mind to. Never let Cerebral Palsy get in the way of anything and make your dreams come true!"
Joseph is 13-years-old and is football mad! Joseph has Right Sided Hemiplegia, which means that the right side of his body is affected by Cerebral Palsy.
Joseph is energetic and sporty. He loves playing football and he plays for a CP team. He is also on the England pathway to play for the England CP team! Joseph loves to challenge himself by doing freestyle tricks. As Joseph's Cerebral Palsy is mild, people can often think that 'he doesn't look disabled', but Joseph has to work really hard to achieve his goals.
Joseph says, "I hate it when people make comments because they don't really understand - I wish they would just ask me and I would tell them".
In the future, Joseph would like to play for CP England and to reach out to others in a positive way through social media.
Joseph said that if he could change one thing it would be people's understanding that everyone is different and CP effects people in different ways.
Things that are important to Joseph are:
- Playing football
- The amazing opportunities that come through playing CP football
Joseph says, "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Life is like a football match, so keep your eyes on the goal and always give it your best shot!"
Josh is 11-years-old and has Asymmetric Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy with central hypertonia. For Josh this means that he is a full-time wheelchair user and he is unable to sit, stand or walk independently. Josh also uses a communication device as sometimes his speech is difficult to understand and get people to respond to his needs.
Josh is a happy, fun and smiley young man. He loves to go swimming with his friend and he also enjoys supporting his local football team, as well as Liverpool FC. Josh is keen on playing on his Xbox with his twin brother too!
If Josh could change one thing it would be for more accessible toilets to exist.
In Josh's spare time, you'll find him eating out with his favourite places being McDonald's, Nandos and Subway! Josh is also a keen baker.
Josh's Mum says he's "an absolute delight!"
Josh says that his goal is to walk one day.
Will is 17-years-old and has Hemiplegia as well as ASD. In Will's words, his Cerebral Palsy makes him "walk wonky and trip over a fair bit!". He attends a mainstream school where he is currently doing his A Levels in German, Geography and Media.
Will is really into film and is also an avid follower of Formula 1.
Will's future plans are to remain positive & upbeat wherever possible and to aim for success... whilst ensuring he has enough time to sleep!
Things that are important to will are:
- Good health
- Family & friends
Will says that if he could change one thing for young people with physical disabilities it would be funding for assistance in education such as support staff and assistive technology. Will also hates it when young people with disabilities are bullied and left out at school.
Will says, "Don't be afraid to take action when things go wrong and to speak out if you need help in any way... oh and always play to your strengths despite your difficulties!"
Lissy is 12-years-old and has Spastic Diaplegic Cerebral Palsy which affects her legs. As a result, Lissy is unable to stand or walk independently.
Lissy has recently started at secondary school and is a bubbly, chatty, positive and determined young lady. In her free time, Lissy likes to dance, which she does on her knees, as well as sing.
Lissy says it's really important to her to be included and treated equally, she says "I'd love to have a social life like other people my age and have one true friend who would be proud to be seen with me".
Other children often leave Lissy out, baby her, or don't give her a fair chance. A lot of people also assume that Lissy has learning difficulties as a result of having a physical disability. Lissy says that if she could change one thing for young people with physical disabilities it would be acceptance and a real understanding from able-bodied people of Cerebral Palsy and physical disabilities as a whole.
Lissy would also change accessibility as her choice of school was limited due to this - she was unable to go to a school where she knew other children.
In the future, Lissy hopes to have her own business in either beauty, hair or fashion.
Lissy says, "Push yourself, don't give up and don't let others tell you what you can and cannot do just because you're in a wheelchair. If you have the right mindset, you will!".
Emma is 23-years-old and has Spastic Diaplegic Cerebral Palsy, which affects both of her legs. As a result, she is unable to walk unaided meaning that Emma uses a wheelchair, a rollator and walking sticks to get around. Emma also has problems with her fine-motor skills, e.g. using scissors.
Emma has a First Class joint Honours degree in Sociology and Psychology. She is currently studying for a Masters in Cognitive Neuroscience. In the future, Emma hopes to go on to do a PhD and gain the title of Dr. After this, Emma hopes to work in Cognitive Neuroscience research.
Emma also has her own blog (www.invinciblewomanonwheels.wordpress.com) where she aims to show a realistic view of life with a disability.
An important thing for Emma is to have an active social life as well as attending lots of concerts and mixed martial arts shows. It is also very important to her to make a difference to accessibility and the lives of other disabled people.
If Emma could change one thing for other young physically disabled people it would be accessibility so that they can access everywhere like everyone else.
Emma says, "If you want to make something happen, whatever it is, take the first step to making it happen however scary that might seem. I cannot tell you how many times I thought about not taking an opportunity because I didn't feel ready for it, but when I did it's took me to amazing places!".
Cameron is 23-years-old and has Cerebral Palsy. It affects both of his legs and the left side of his body meaning that he uses a wheelchair to get around.
Cameron loves his job, spending time with his friends, going to the theatre and supporting Aston Villa.
People describe Cameron as passionate for what he believes in and a sociable young man who likes to live life to the full!
Cameron doesn't like it when others talk to the person he is with when he's out and about. He also doesn't like it when people assume he needs help just because he's in a wheelchair.
If Cameron could change one thing for other youngsters with physical disabilities it would be accessibility. He would also change public transport as well as people's perceptions about disability.
Cameron says, "Live life to the full and take every opportunity without hesitation - this is exactly what I've done and it has paved the way to some incredible opportunities as a young person with Cerebral Palsy!"
William is 23-years-old and has Cerebral Palsy. He has a right sided weakness in his leg as a result of having meningitis when he was 3-years-old and he suffered a thalamic infarct. His leg is stiff and his toes are clawed, as well as one leg being shorter than the other. William also becomes tired easily.
William is a happy, caring and sociable young man - everyone in his local area knows him!
William has played football for England with the Cerebral Palsy Development Squad. Even though William had a late diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, it's not held him back where sport is concerned! He is a good golfer and was a talented swimmer when he was younger. William is regularly asked to attend sporting events in his local area with his medals from playing football for England to show other disabled youngsters what can be achieved.
William gets very frustrated being told that he cannot do something - he likes to prove people wrong!
William has a dog called Patch who is very important to him. In his free time, you will find William caring for Patch as well as going out with his girlfriend and visiting his Uncle who he is very close to.
Even though William feels that he has been extremely lucky with the opportunities that he has been given, he feels that the information given over the years on sporting opportunities have been hard to come by. He would change the accessibility of such information for other physically disabled youngsters as well as making the statement system easier in schools.
In the future, William hopes to do more work for charities and raise more disability awareness.
William says, "Never give up, the opportunities are out there!".
William is 17-years-old and has mixed Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. For William, this means that he is a full-time wheelchair user. As a result of his Cerebral Palsy, William has had to have many major operations including brain surgery and hip/pelvis reconstruction. William also experiences fatigue.
William is a funny, happy and chatty young man with a positive outlook. William likes to make people laugh and in doing so, making himself laugh! He is currently preparing to sit his GCSE's and says, "Just because I am in a wheelchair and I have extra needs, it doesn't mean that I am useless". William wants people to focus on him first and not his wheelchair.
William says he hates it when people talk to him like he is a baby or when people talk to his carer rather than him. William says, "People say they'll pray for me to get better! People don't give me enough time to process and answer questions. People call me inspirational and all I am doing is getting on with my life!".
Family & friends are very important to William and music & comedy are two of his biggest loves. In his free time, you will find William going to the theatre, listening to music, going to classical concerts, entering art/photography competitions, watching films/TV and generally trying to be a culture vulture!
If William could change one thing for young people with physical disabilities it would be to have more Changing Places facilities.
William says, "Always look for the funny things in life. Live for today because the future will take care of itself and you can't change the past. Focus on what you can do and what you can't. What other people think of me is none of my business!".
Hannah is 20-years-old and has Cerebral Palsy. Hannah has learned to adapt many things but struggles with walking for long periods, her hand coordination and cold/wet weather as it causes her pain.
Hannah says, "Just because I can't move well, it doesn't mean I can't build my career". Hannah got into a top drama school and she is an actress and writer as well as a campaigner. She is currently at University studying Drama and Creative Writing.
Hannah says she hates it when people assume that she is not disabled on the basis that she can walk and in turn when people assume that she requires help with everything. Hannah also doesn't like it when people call her and her parents 'inspirational' - she says, "this is just our life!".
Something that is really important to Hannah is creating characters and stories that tell the truth of disability, including both the hardship and the community.
If Hannah could change one thing for other young people with physical disabilities it would be the understanding of both classmates and teachers to make the education system better and less discriminatory.
In her free time, you will find Hannah eating out, at rehearsals with her boyfriend, walking her dogs, at the theatre, and sat on her bed either chatting to friends or working on scripts.
Sam has just turned 13-years-old and he has low tone Dystonic Cerebral Palsy affecting all 4 of his limbs. Sam's legs become tired easily meaning that he can only walk short distances and he uses a wheelchair. Sam also has Epilepsy.
Sam is a funny, adventurous young man who is always up for a laugh. Sam attends a mainstream school and is a budding athlete! His main sport is Wheelchair Racing, although he also swims and plays Wheelchair Basketball. In addition, Sam also enjoys skiing and kayaking. In Sam's spare time you'll find him training at the track, swimming, cycling, relaxing at home, gaming with his friends and drawing.
Sam hates it when people leave people out because of disability as well as the assumptions that disabled people can't do certain activities. Sam says, "with a couple of adaptations, anything is possible!".
Having friends and being included is something that is really important to Sam. He says that his racing wheelchair club is a great example of this - "I've made lots of friends and the older athletes are very inspirational".
If Sam could change one thing for other young people with physical disabilities it would be for other children and young people not to treat people with disabilities differently and for them to be accepted for who they are.
Sam says, "You've gotta roll with it!".
Jake is 21-years-old and has Spastic Cerebral Palsy. As a result of his Cerebral Palsy, Jake has difficulty with tasks such as cooking, cutting up food and tying his shoelaces. Jake also struggles with sitting in the same position for a prolonged period of time due to muscle tightness.
Jake is currently part of a training scheme with Channel 4, which has allowed him to secure a year's work in the industry that he did his degree in.
Jake hates it when people automatically assume that he's going to fail at something. He says, "I have repeatedly defeated the odds throughout my life so far and I hope to continue to do so from being underestimated in education to gaining my first job in my desired industry all while living independently. I will be able to do it and I will prove you wrong!".
Something that is really important to Jake is to be treated the same as everyone else.
If Jake could change one thing for other young people with physical disabilities it would be accessibility and also the platform to explain to people who do not have disability how it effects people.
In the future Jake hopes to stay within the journalism industry, as well as to live with his girlfriend, settle down and have a family.
Jake says, "Anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Don't ever let restrictions stand in your way and achieve greatness!".
Katie is 16-years old and has whole body Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy. Katie's speech is also affected by her Cerebral Palsy. The right side of Katie's body is more effected than her left side and she uses a wheelchair as well as a walker.
Katie can become fatigued easily and she takes different medications to help with her Cerebral Palsy.
Katie says, "Just because I am physically disabled it doesn't mean I don't understand! Don't just look at my wheelchair!". Katie hates it when people talk over her and also when people assume that she has learning disabilities because she has a physical disability.
If Katie could change one thing for other physically disabled youngsters it would be schooling. Katie says, "I would make mainstream schooling more inclusive rather than putting physically disabled children with children who have learning problems and for special schools to realise the same! I have experienced both mainstream and special school and I felt isolated in both". Katie is now home-schooled having missed out on several years of her education.
In her free time, you'll find Katie listening to Olly Murs! Katie is also currently trying to find a suitable sport in her area to participate in and is hoping to start Boccia and Boxing soon.
In the future, Katie hopes to help other children with Cerebral Palsy. She says, "I have to face so much rubbish sometimes with funding for carers, hospital appointments, getting wheelchairs etc. - I would like to help others so they don't have to go through this alone".
Katie is known by her family for saying "at the end of the day...!", so Katie's advice to others is when she's feeling down she says to herself, "at the end of the day Katie, if you're feeling down, put on your headphones and listen to Olly Murs!".
Bethany is 20-years-old and has Quadrilateral Cerebral Palsy. Bethany is a full-time wheelchair user, she only has full function in her left arm and she also has moderate learning difficulties. Bethany can sometimes become frustrated as she wants to do everything that everyone else is but physically this can be difficult.
Bethany loves having a cup of tea and catching up with friends and family.
Bethany hates it when people assume that she can't follow complex conversations and therefore she gets left out. Her Mum helps Bethany by asking people to slow down and simplify their language. Bethany also says that people assume that she can stand and transfer as well as experiencing people walking in front of her like she isn't there.
Being included is really important to Bethany, as well as making friends, her dogs and people not freaking out when she becomes excited.
If Bethany could change one thing for physically disabled youngsters it would be accessibility. Bethany says, "I would like it so we weren't told 'no' there is no ramp or changing table. A lot of society see disabled people as being able to go to the toilet with rails, as well as being able to try clothes on etc. So when wheelchairs and incontinence gets in the way of having a nice family meal out or a day out, I feel I can't go because it causes a lot of stress and I don't like having to explain my situation".
In Bethany's free time you will find her baking with her Mum, shopping and listening to music. Bethany also enjoys printing out pictures to colour in.
In the future Bethany hopes to study more things at college, especially with animals or computers.
Bethany says, "Drink tea!".
Rachel is 15-years-old and has Spastic Diaplegic Cerebral Palsy. For Rachel this means that she is unable to walk independently and she is a full-time wheelchair user. Rachel also experiences difficulties with her fine-motor skills meaning that she has a scribe at school.
Rachel is a positive, happy, outgoing and sociable young girl. Rachel attends mainstream school. She is currently studying for 8 Nat5 qualifications.
Rachel hates it when people assume that she has a learning disability based on the fact that she is in a wheelchair.
Something that is really important to Rachel is her family & friends and being treated the same as everybody else.
If Rachel could change one thing for other youngsters with physical disabilities it would be accessibility. Rachel says, "it would be being able to go out knowing that anywhere I go will be accessible. Toilets are always an issue as often they are not big enough for my powered chair and grab rails are not fitted properly. I think it makes sense for disabled people to be consulted/involved in the planning of disabled facilities".
In Rachel's spare time you will find her shopping and watching television.
In the future Rachel hopes to raise awareness for people with disabilities as well as work and live independently.
Rachel says, "She believed she could, so she did!"
Ruby is 16-years-old and has Spastic Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, which effects the right side of her body. Ruby has had many operations to try and help her walk better as well as to ease pain. Since the age of 2, Ruby has worn splints and she still wears them to improve posture and toe-walking.
Ruby is currently learning to drive in her adapted car. She also represents Great Britain in Wheelchair Tennis - Ruby travels around the world playing in tournaments and she is currently ranked #10 in the world!
Ruby hates it when people assume that because she mostly walks and only uses a wheelchair sometimes that she is not in pain and that she isn't working 5 times as hard as other people to get to classes.
Something that is really important to Ruby is her family & friends, as well as her sport and being treated the same as other people, including not having her disability used against her.
If Ruby could change one thing for youngsters with physical disabilities it would be accessibility and social inclusion. Ruby says, "At times in my school throughout the years I have felt like a burden and felt as if I have been treated differently when in a wheelchair or using crutches. I felt so isolated I didn’t want to attend or be in a wheelchair, even though I knew I would be in less pain. As for accessibility I couldn’t attended certain buildings, which if I was walking I would have been able to. Despite me making my school aware of this they still didn't make it accessible. The disabled toilet wasn't accessible without a key only staff had, which made me feel more anxious. I feel it should be a requirement to have ramps in place".
In Ruby's spare time, you will find her training or out with her friends. Ruby says, "I’m doing some sort of sport at least 6x times a week. Sport changed my life, it’s giving me a purpose. My confidence has definitely improved since playing".
In the future Ruby hopes to make the 2024 Paralympic Games in Wheelchair Tennis. Ruby would also like to help other youngsters with Cerebral Palsy.
Ruby says, "Everything happens for a reason! For example, if I didn’t have my disability I wouldn’t be playing a high level sport representing my county or have met some of my best friends. Although there may be a lot of bumps in the road, one day I’ll be where I want to be."