United Ability was honored to host Dorothy Levy for her 105th Birthday Celebration last week on the fully-accessible playground surrounded by students from its Hand in Hand Early Learning Program. Ms. Levy was instrumental in the founding of Spastic Aid of Alabama, now known to be United Ability.
Ms. Levy’s son, Harry, was born in 1938 and diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. At that time, doctors were not well educated about Cerebral Palsy and could not offer much support or guidance to families. Dorothy and Leon Levy began tireless research and connected first with a physician in New York and then with local Birmingham physician, Dr. John Simpson. Ten years later Ms. Levy, Dr. Simpson, Rabbi Milton Grafman and other compassionate individuals who cared about the quality of life for people with cerebral palsy formed the Cerebral Palsy Center, also known as Spastic Aid of Alabama. The main goal of this organization was to serve children of all ages with both day programs and residential services.
Last year, Ms. Levy visited the current United Ability campus and remarked that when she turned 105 she would love to celebrate with the children on the playground. On Friday, her wish came true. She was greeted by 60 children who sang happy birthday and showered her with homemade cards. Ms. Levy enjoyed accessing the treehouse while in her wheelchair, engaging with children in the adaptive swings, and taking photos. Surrounded by children with and without disabilities, she said, “This makes me incredibly happy. Miracles are truly happening here.”
Ms. Levy’s daughter added, “Mom, this was your dream, that a place like this would exist.” Ms. Levy responded with a big smile sharing, “And next year, I plan to return and celebrate with the adults”