CARE & GIVING: Breanna’s Story

Thu 10 Aug 2023

CARE & GIVING: Breanna's Story*

By Breanna Illingworth

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, I’m Bre! I’m a mom of four. My best friends would describe me as outgoing and caring. My main hobby? Being a soccer mom. Does that count? It brings me so much joy to watch my older kids play soccer. Something about that wet grass in the early morning just takes me back to my own childhood. I am very family oriented, so my down time is spent with my family. I pride myself, and those I surround myself with, in being genuine people. Be you, be honest, be your true authentic self, lead with love and live your life as much as you can because tomorrow is truly never promised. 

What do you find most challenging to deal with as the mom of a child with cerebral palsy? 

The most challenging part of being a mother of a child with cerebral palsy is the fight for equality. Logan has mild cerebral palsy, but even with it being more mild, she still struggles. She lives in such a grey area: too disabled to be considered “normal” and not disabled enough to receive “help.” A good portion of my time is spent trying to find resources to help her with things that are needed for her to succeed daily. 

What do you want to share with people who know nothing about cerebral palsy and who don’t know what it’s like to raise a child with this disability?

Cerebral palsy is not a one-size-fits-all type of diagnosis. And, ignorantly, I didn’t understand that until my daughter was diagnosed. I never thought of cerebral palsy being mild, or coming in different forms. Logan may look “okay” on the outside. She may only walk with a small limp and one foot tip toed.
But on the inside? It’s war. It’s a constant fuzz of information not being able to travel from the brain to the body. She has to think harder and try harder than the “normal” person to do everyday things. Something as simple as walking up a curb. If she doesn’t see it with enough time for her brain to send that message? She’ll trip and fall. Things you’d never even think twice about! Also, she’s human. She wants to play with your kids. But sometimes running and jumping are things she can’t do for more than a few minutes. 

Teach your kids about disability. Teach them to include everyone. Teach them that it doesn’t have one generic look to it. Cerebral palsy, and every other disability, come in all different forms. But the one thing everyone has in common? They are human. And they long to be included, welcomed, and loved. 

What unexpected positives have you experienced since Logan’s diagnosis? 

Logan’s diagnosis has brought us a form of community. Whether it is her team of doctors, or any other family we have met along the way. It brought us a form of community that we truly didn’t have before. And that right there has gotten us through the trenches. 

What's one thing you would like other parents of kids with cerebral palsy to know?
You are not alone. Reach out for help. Advocate hard! Social media is powerful! Use it to find families and advocacy pages! You can do this. We are here for you!

Moved by this story? Donate to CPARF to keep cerebral palsy research and disability innovation moving forward. Connect with Breanna on Instagram. 

*Breanna's story is part of CARE & GIVING. This series covers a few different aspects of the cerebral palsy community. It features the experiences of those who care about and for people with cerebral palsy, including parents and caregivers, therapists, paraprofessionals, and other allies. It also highlights donors who have made it their mission to move cerebral palsy forward, because care and giving go hand in hand.

The CARE & GIVING blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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