My name is Valerie Lawrence. I want to share a quick story with you. Being born with Cerebral Palsy has never been easy. As a little girl living with CP, acceptance was always challenging. Not being able to walk, run, or even sit up straight made me feel like acceptance will never be possible. While the other kids were outside playing with each other, I was unable too. I remember many days and nights that I was in the hospital for surgery and, or at home, doing physical therapy recovering from an operation. With every surgery, I always had a blood transfusion. Can't explain how grateful I am to those that give blood. Just one of the reasons I can be here to share my story with you today. Then as a woman seeking love in hopes to someday build a family with a man who will not only love me but be proud to call himself my husband and eventually make a family together really felt like a mission impossible. My story is not a feel sorry for me story. My journey is about resilience and acceptance. Our 501c3 charity is here to celebrates diversity. Thriving with CP Inc wants to build confident, independent living for those in the disabled community.
My family recently was featured on a TV show called Barcroft TV Born Different. The show was a short documentary about my life living with Cerebral Palsy while having three children, a supportive husband, and a real estate career. It went viral at over 8.4 million views and 35,000 shares on Facebook. With the outreach of many amazing people, this documentary helped me see hope many people are similar to different. I have now changed career paths to full-time life coaching for our nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) Thriving with CP.
People shot me down when it came to be becoming a mother or working in the real estate field. Through my life experiences, I want to help other disabled people's confidence by holding their hands through their journey. Life with a disability does not mean you must not be valued or live a discounted life. We are all human beings and deserve a productive, amazing, happy life too.
Living with a physical disability does not mean that your medical insurance will cover everything you need to help you live a productive life. I drive with hand controls. I had to go through specialized training to get my license. I was 18 years old when I got my driver's license. I was getting ready to start my first job. I needed to have hand controls put into my vehicle because my reflexes are far from fast. I called my medical insurance to ask for financial assistance to purchase hand controls in my car. Their response was hand controls are considered a luxury. There is always public transportation if needed. So basically figure it out. As a kid with no money hearing something like that and knowing hand controls can cost up to $2000,00 had me feeling hopeless. Our charity doesn't want others to feel hopeless. We want to help provide you with medical devices and resources that will help you flourish in life, not feel lost.
Please help us celebrate everyone's differences in the world through donations for Thriving with CP Inc.
- Michael Jessen
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