We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the first National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day than by sharing a little of Mary’s story and some of what she has accomplished.
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus at a young age, Mary was encouraged by her family never to give up, and she has not!
Early Intervention Matters
Mary first came to United Ability, formerly United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham shortly after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy and started in our Early Intervention Program that serves children from birth to age three with disabilities.
As a very young child, we could see her determination to overcome any barrier placed before her while also exhibiting a loving spirit. She has been through thirty-nine brain surgeries and each time has responded with renewed a determination to serve others and impact those around her for good.
We witnessed this “never give up” spirit in the summer of 2017 when Mary was scheduled to participate in our GIG teen volunteer program assisting children with and without disabilities. She wanted to give back to the program and be an example to others. However, a week into the program, Mary required another surgery. We thought she would not be able to complete the program, but within a week, she not only enthusiastically returned but was also a great asset to our students and staff the rest of the summer.
The Future is Limitless
That spirit of determination has recently been rewarded and Mary was accepted into the ACCESS program at Mississippi State University, recognized by Alabama Public Television as Young Hero, and a Finley Character Award winner at Hoover High School.
Mary is a staunch advocate for disability rights, self-advocacy, and meaningful employment for the disabled. She also hosts the Awesome Mary Show on YouTube, and she recently served as the co-host for our annual Journey of Hope gala. This list goes on and on.
The future is so bright for “Awesome Mary,” because she “never gives up!”