Life Without Limits Gala 2012 – through the eyes of a child

Annual Life Without Limits Gala 2012 – through the eyes of a child

David Pyott, Gavin Herbert, UCP-OC CEO Cathleen Collins and Honoree James V. Mazzo
Assitant Emcees Reo & Brianna with James Mazzo

United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County’s Life Without Limits Gala was a major success with 370 guests and net proceeds estimated at over $425,000.  Held on April 28 at the Balboa Bay Club, the beautiful black tie gala honored James V. Mazzo, President of Abbott Medical Optics with the Impact Award for his community leadership and ongoing support of families of children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

A major announcement connected with Mazzo’s vision and support was United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County’s Cortical Vision Impairment Early Intervention Program in affiliation with The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at UC Irvine scheduled to open in fall 2012.

The gala theme, Through the Eyes of Child, was reflected with children ambassadors welcoming guests and by live performances by children with disabilities including the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra Ensemble Chamber Players. As guests entered the ballroom they were welcomed with many faces of children that make up UCP-OC.

Gala Co-chairs Matthew Maletta & Michele Maryott

Honorary co-chairs and former Impact awardees included Julia and George Argyros along with former David Pyott and his wife Julianna. Gala committee co-chairs were Michele Maryott, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Partner and Matthew Maletta, Allergan Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Secretary.

United Cerebral Palsy’s CEO Cathleen Collins shared her personal story of raising a daughter with disabilities and expressed her appreciation of the many healthcare professionals in attendance.

During the Cash for Kids Without Limits, United Cerebral Palsy supporter Bonner Paddock – who has cerebral palsy – announced a $100,000 matching gift through his OM Foundation.

Top auction items included a night at the Grammy Awards that generated $10,000, two Angels dugout suites were sold at $11,000 each and two dinner parties for 12 with Sapphire Grill Chef Azmin Ghahreman each brought in $5500.

Azalea, a teen who attends UCP-OC, invoked a true standing ovation in response to her beautiful piano piece.

From the moment guests were welcomed by the children ambassadors,  to the cookie endorned with a thank you note and a picture of a child the evening was magical. Guests entered the beautifully decorated ballroom,  The event also had a candy bar, photobooth (enjoyed by many), opportunity drawingsdined on delicious meal, filled their bags at the candy bar and photobooth (enjoyed by many)

UCP-OC introduced itself as an organization through a video comprised of CEO Cathy Collins, Dr. Simpson a principle investigator in our new vision program, board members and two influential families at UCP-OC.

To view more pictures please watch our slideshow!

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Life’s a Journey With CP and Me

Hi Everyone at UCP-OC!

I hope this post finds you well, and that you are enjoying the beautiful month of May. I cannot believe the time has come for me to move back home for the summer! Finals are over, and my dorm room is all packed up and the walls are bare! It’s nice to realize how much I made this place my little home away from home. I am looking forward to coming back in the fall to take on a new year! This year has taught me so many things about myself, about my education and about the world around me. I can’t wait to explore this aspect of my life even more over the next three years! It feels like only last month that I started blogging on here about my new college experiences with CP and such. We are almost half way into 2012, wow!

I haven’t posted in awhile because I am just at the tail-end of my recovery from surgery, actually. About five weeks ago, I found out that a stress fracture in my non-CP foot was actually a broken bone that I had been walking and running on for about three weeks prior. So now I have a 3 inch metal pin in my foot, super weird! It was definitely a rough experience—I was dependent on my family and friends to help me get around since I couldn’t drive, or walk without crutches. You can imagine how weird it is to have to rely on my CP side to give me the balance and coordination to keep off of my injured “good” foot. I had to get used to something so unfamiliar to me in such a short amount of time, so I think my body was in shock from the recovery process and the amount of energy my CP side had to exert as well. All in all, I learned so much from this though. I learned that it is important to listen to your body’s signs, and I learned that it is okay to ask for help. I grew to love my school even more because I truly felt constant support and love from my classmates and even professors, and that has shown me how special Soka is as a college.

But even more than all of that, I think the biggest thing I could have taken away from the past few weeks is how lucky I am to have the ability to walk. I never complain much, but sometimes it is easy to get caught up in how “inconvenient” it is to have CP. Having my walking ability be so hindered by my surgery for a little over a month has really allowed me to reflect on my circumstances in comparison to those who have CP more severely. I went to San Francisco a few weekends ago, and while those hills nearly made my legs fall off, I still felt very happy that I could get around the city alongside my family. I admire the courage it takes to let go of your pride and vanity a little when you need to depend on others to get through the day. I am happy to say that I am back on my feet, with a boot on to secure my foot from becoming more injured, but I am surprised by how well my recovery went. I am very conscious of my body’s ability now more than ever, and plan to take on these next few weeks with great ease so I can work my way up to running again in time for the half marathon early next year.

I hope all of you have a great start to the coming summer months, and maybe have a fun vacation planned with the ones you love. I know I am looking forward to this season!

Best Wishes, Katy

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all our UCP-OC Mothers and Grandmothers out there!

This past week we sent out our spring letter that celebrates the AMAZING, INCREDIBLE,  REMARKABLE mothers and fathers that come to UCP-OC. Our letters tell the story of 3 families that utilize various programs and services. Every day we are in awe of our dedicated moms and dads, and we are daily inspired by their stories. THANK YOU for all that you do.  

Each story can be found at, but here is a sneak peek of Brooklynne, a 2-year-old who comes to Therapy at UCP-OC:

“Every time I leave, I have more encouragement and hope in Brooklynne’s progress. UCP-OC has empowered me as a mom, I leave here with joy to see what more Brooklynne is capable of.”-Lynne

Brooklynne was born May of 2010, and a mere 3 months later in August she started having seizures. After numerous trips to the hospital and visits with specialists Brooklynne was diagnosed with Lissencephaly, a rare brain disorder in which the grooves on the brain do not form in the womb. Lissencephaly, also known as smooth brain, causes mental and developmental delays depending on the severity. Brooklynne’s parents, Gabe and Lynne, were told to get her in therapy immediately…”

To read more please click here.

Help us in celebrating our Mom’s this weekend by making a gift online at

Child of the Month – May 2012


Liam is a very courageous little boy who will never be defeated, but will try something until he finishes it. His courageous spirit has inspired his nickname of “Little Lion Man” around his family. Liam can always be found with a smile on his face and laughter in his heart.

“He’s our little lion man”


Liam was diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy (CP) and left torticollis. His CP presents itself on his left-side, making daily tasks more challenging for him, and causes eating and speech impairments. After trying other therapy programs, he was referred to UCP-OC. “It was night and day” says his mother Gina, “When he comes to UCP-OC, he knows that we are trying to help.”  Liam currently attends physical therapy and occupational therapy at UCP-OC. The physical and occupational therapy has made a great difference in Liam’s symmetry of the left and right side of his body and his fine motor skills. His therapists are wonderful with Liam, and have made a significant impact on what Liam is able to do today.  

Recently, he started receiving speech therapy with Christine, and in only 2 months he has made tremendous strides. At the time of his evaluation he had only a few words, a few signs and rarely produced any sounds other than single vowel sounds when reaching for a desired object. In addition to his expressive language delays Liam presented with a facial asymmetry caused in part from his medical history of left torticollis and CP. Liam’s speech therapy is focused on stretching and strengthening of the oral muscles, creating a balance among the facial muscles, increasing the number of words and sounds he produces and making his speech sound clearer. Every week Liam has surprised us with new sounds and words and he has recently taken to performing some of his oral motor therapy on himself!

While speech therapy may look like fun and games to an outsider, each activity has a purpose behind it. Liam doesn’t realize that the chocolate pudding placed on his upper lip is being used to increase his lingual range of motion and strength, or that the lollypop inside his cheek is being used to release some of the excess tension, he just knows that it tastes yummy! All of our therapy is play based. Liam’s current favorite activity is taking the toys for a swim in the “wawa” where we have been able to add quite a few new words over a bucket of water.  Liam has surpassed all of his speech goals and is a true testament to the power of early identification, intervention and family involvement.

Gina says that Liam’s twin sister, Gianna, has also been a big part of Liam’s progress. Gianna is always pushing Liam to work harder at home and won’t let him give up. Liam loves to follow his sister around the house to prove that no matter what she does, he can do it too.    

Liam has been a fighter all of his life and with the help of UCP-OC, his family and of course his sister Gianna’s great example we know that there isn’t anything he couldn’t do!




If you would like to make a gift to support the services that are helping Liam and his family please click here or contact Elizabeth at for more information.