Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our Amazing Survivors

Something very special happened this summer at the Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA) Family Retreat. Teens and young adults from all over the world came together to share information with the families of younger children who have hemiplegia. The common factor that brings these young people together is that they have a diagnosis of hemiplegia or hemiparesis (weakness or paralysis on one side of the body). Some have hemiplegia due to an early stroke; others due to surgery for epilepsy or other causes.

They talked and laughed about the different ways they've found to adapt to life with the use of one hand. They shared information about living on their own, adapting a car, and managing epilepsy.

I don't know if there was a dry eye in the room as we listened to these accomplished young people interact with the parents of younger children. While they face many struggles, it seems that these struggles have given them strength, empathy, and a great deal of wisdom at such an early age. I look forward to hearing from them every year at the annual CHASA retreat and learning more about their adventures as they enter college, jobs, and start their families. I feel very honored to know every single one of these young people.

~ Nancy Atwood, Founder, CHASA

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