What is cerebral palsy?

“Fit for Logan” aims to raise funds for Logan Bartle who has CP.

FITTING CAUSE – The official logo for the Fit for Logan challenge

Over the past few weeks, a few of the participants have shared a bit about their journey and why they joined the “Fit for Logan” campaign.

The goal of the campaign is two-fold: to raise funds for Logan Bartle, and to raise awareness about cerebral palsy.

But what exactly is cerebral palsy?

According to United Cerebral Palsy Association of South Africa (UCPASA), it is a condition that arises when a part of the brain doesn’t develop correctly or work properly and affects movement, posture and co-ordination.

Cerebral palsy can also be caused by problems arising during the first weeks of development in the womb or a difficult or premature birth.

However, sometimes there is no obvious cause. The condition can be identified at, or around, the time of birth.

Those with cerebral palsy struggle to control their muscles and they tend to move in a jerky and uncoordinated manner.

For some, the effects of cerebral palsy can be mild. In these cases, talking, sitting up and walking is possible though the development of these skills may take longer than usual.

Others may need a higher level of support in various areas of their lives due to the severity of their condition.

Another challenge faced by some is poor eyesight or epilepsy and while some may have learning barriers, not all people with cerebral palsy do.

There are three broad categories of cerebral palsy, but no two cerebral palsy sufferers are affected in the same manner and can have either one type or a combination of them.

Spastic cerebral palsy (SCP) is the most common form and is characterised by a stiffness of muscles which can affect the range of movements in a person’s joints.

There are three main terms used when describing the part of the body most affected by SCP. Hemiplegia is when the left or right half of the body is affected; diplegia is when both legs are affected and the arms are either slightly affected or not at all; and quadriplegia is the term used when both legs and arms are equally affected.

The second type of cerebral palsy is athetoid cerebral palsy,  which causes involuntary movements as muscles switch from limp to stiff. Speech and  hearing can also be affected.

The last category is called ataxic cerebral palsy which affects balance, causes uncoordinated movement and affects the entire body. Most sufferers with this kind are able to walk, though their gait might be unsteady.

Irregular speech and shaky hand movements are also the effects of atexic cerebral palsy.

Though these conditions can be debilitating, in many instances there are misconceptions about the  condition and those affected.

Here are some facts about cerebral palsy.

*Not all people with cerebral palsy need a wheelchair as many are able to walk unaided or use a cane, walker or crutches.

*Employers often don’t want to hire people with cerebral palsy even though many CP sufferers are more than capable of having  occupations, making money and providing for their families.

*Cerebral palsy is not genetic and does not affect unborn babies, therefore CP men and women can have children and CP women can have normal pregnancies.

*A child who has cerebral palsy remains a child who needs love, guidance, support, play, creativity and boundaries.

People with cerebral palsy may have a few more challenges than others, however, they remain unique individuals  who are like anyone else and have varying gifts, personalities, interests, relationships, opinions and lives.

Caron Troskie, Cheryl Larsen, Tubs Lingham and Wendy Kretschmann have taken up the Challenge to raise funds for Logan. If you would like to sponsor them per kg lost, click on the link below. All funds raised go towards Logan Bartle’s needs.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe9EdVhIMF-Rj7pXSELYPvfbldsFYk1xaHKsTAviBTupI-IAg/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0

– The GO! & Express is the official print media sponsor of the Fit for Logan Challenge.

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