There is likely only 10 degrees of separation between you and someone with Cerebral Palsy. 1 in every 323 children born has some form of Cerebral Palsy. Despite being the number 1 motor disability in the world, there is precious little help and assistance for families struggling to provide for a CP child. Medical costs are nearly 10 times higher for CP children, more than 25 times higher when CP is paired with an intellectual disability. When Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement (CCPM) founder Debbie Fragner learned her daughter Maddie had Cerebral Palsy, she decided to dedicate her life to helping not only Maddie, but every child with CP.

CCPM designed, funded, and tested an innovative therapeutic dance protocol, Ability Ballet, with the oversight of UCI, CHOC Orthopaedic Institute and Chapman University. In the end, the dance protocol yielded statistically significant improvements in cognition, physical function and feelings of self-worth in the participating CP children. After the resounding success of our Ability Ballet, we were compelled to expand our vision by developing much needed Community Programs for CP children and their families living in isolation, often without hope.

Over the past year, CCPM has built a number of amazing programs and events. Last March we helped create the Oso Fit 5K & Kids Fun Run designed for the community at large, and children with disabilities. We had the privilege of watching children with limited mobility, some with walkers and others in wheelchairs, cross a finish line that they never dreamed they could cross. They were given a chance to do something able-bodied peers take for granted, and the laughter and tears of joy were beyond beautiful. This year we co-hosted the run once again, but this time as a united front with partners CHOC Hospital, Convaid Wheelchair/R82, Pediatric Orthopaedic Specialists, and Tutto Fresco Kitchen & Bar. The results were nothing short of amazing and blessed so many CP children and families.

With the help of our friends at Tutto Fresco, we hosted a fundraising event that was absolutely breathtaking, that helped us underwrite our Dare To Dream Christmas Extravaganza in the fall. The holiday event was designed for special needs children, giving them an opportunity that is so often kept from them. Many of the children had never been able to see Santa, and watching their faces light up when they realized they would be able to meet Santa will be in our memories forever.

Everything we’ve done has been an act of love, but none of it could have been possible without the community standing behind us. Our mission is to help give children with CP a richer life by giving them experiences they can’t get elsewhere, but that mission is fueled by the amazing generosity of our board, our volunteers, and our donors. Orange County has shown time and time again that they are able to do incredible things to help these medically fragile children, through the generous donation of time, talent and treasure.

March is World Cerebral Palsy Month, and this year we are working to strengthen our coalition in Orange County, through accessing new donors, volunteers, and dedicated outreach to bring new CP families into our community to help them see they are not alone. Every step we take helps bring hope and joy into the lives of families that have for so long felt isolated, and we hope that World CP Month helps inspire everyone to reach out and help give CP families hope. Please contact us at www.CCPMovement.org to express your interest in becoming a DREAM GIVER today. Thank you!