Alexa Andersen is a gregarious, intelligent 11 year-old who loves Disneyland and has an enormous crush on Harry Potter. She spends her time with family and friends just like any other 11 year-old, but with one difference… Alexa, my daughter, has severe cerebral palsy (CP).
Born prematurely at 28 weeks, Alexa was left with pervasive damage to her brain and we were told she would have CP. As the years passed and milestones were missed, we discovered that her disabilities were much more involved than we had hoped and that Alexa would not progress beyond the physical capabilities of a young child, restricted to a wheelchair. Today, Alexa has reached an age and maturity where she is aware that her disability is not going away, but she does not have to go through this alone. Along with her family support, Alexa’s therapists at United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County (UCP-OC) help her look forward to a future of independence.
Upon moving to Southern California I was uncertain where to turn to get the best care for my daughter. Like most parents of disabled children, I worried that I wasn’t doing enough and that Alexa was missing out on opportunities and treatments. I knew there was more out there. After floundering between different options, one of Alexa’s therapists suggested we explore the myriad of services available at UCP-OC. I immediately enrolled Alexa into the physical therapy program at UCP-OC twice a week and finally found peace of mind. Raising a child with developmental disabilities can be an extremely isolating experience as a mother. A place like UCP-OC offers classes and options creating a community of support. I was not alone anymore.
Since coming to UCP-OC there are no missing pieces, no fears of undiscovered opportunities and the future looks brighter. UCP-OC takes our concerns and dreams seriously while walking side by side with us through our journey towards a Life Without Limits…we have a lifetime partner.
I still get emotional when I think about the “what ifs”. What if we had not discovered UCP-OC and the abundant wealth of knowledge that they provide? Unfortunately, this is a reality for many families who cannot afford many services for their child. You can make a difference! You can help a child with special needs. What if we as a community strive together to help families and children live their lives with hope rather than without? With continued deep budget cuts on the horizon, UCP-OC can no longer rely on government support and must reach out to the community, loyal donors and families to ensure a future. This year I encourage you to give to UCP-OC. Together let’s help children like my daughter Alexa receive the help and therapy needed.
Alexa dreams of living in her own apartment in the Big Apple with a doorman and an elevator. She dreams of someday having children of her own. UCP-OC is helping my vivacious Alexa achieve her dreams one day at a time! I am giving back to UCP-OC this spring because of the difference the organization has made to our lives. I ask you to do the same. Every gift makes a difference! Thank you for your donation and for touching the life of a child.