Father’s Day Duo: A Q&A With Michael & Jason

Thu 15 Jun 2023

In honor of Father's Day this Sunday, June 18, 2023, we're sharing a recent Q&A with Michael Febbie and Jason Paige, two fathers who are part of the cerebral palsy community in unique ways. They're neighbors, friends, and CPARF supporters who met while Michael was getting active during STEPtember, our 30-day flagship fundraiser and activity challenge. 

Q&A With Michael

Michael has cerebral palsy and has been involved in STEPtember over the last few years with his colleagues. 

What is the most rewarding part about being a dad?
The most rewarding part is watching both my son and daughter develop new skills, both academically as well as on the sports fields. Watching them begin to figure things out and apply their learnings out in the real world is very rewarding.

What's the most challenging part about being a dad?
Definitely juggling my work travel commitments with their school and sports schedules. I travel about 50% of the time, and trying to ensure I am home and am prepared for whatever the given day or week can bring can be quite challenging, especially when something unplanned happens and plans need to change. Time management as a parent can be quite tough!

Has having cerebral palsy affected the way you parent? If so, how?
Absolutely it has affected it, in a very interesting way. I feel that I am more empathetic in certain situations, regarding emotions, but also much less empathetic in others, especially when it comes to working harder or doing physical tasks that they can perform such as tasks around the house.  

What advice would you give to your younger self?  
Enjoy the journey of life, as many times it is much more enriching than the destination. Take in the big moments but remember all of the people, hard work and experiences that have brought you all along the way.

What do you wish other people knew about what it's like for you to have cerebral palsy?
I would say the amount of energy it takes to try to walk with the correct gait all day long. Certain things that people take for granted are sometimes difficult with someone with cerebral palsy. It takes a lot of energy and determination with certain tasks, and at the end of long day, it can be quite taxing.

What advice would you give to parents who have a child with cerebral palsy?
The advances in therapies, surgeries, and procedures have been quite amazing to see over the years. I would also focus on emotional support as well, not just for a child with CP, but also for the non-affected sibling(s), as often much of the time and money can be dedicated to the child with CP. Ensuring that the parents and siblings are being supported both physically and emotionally is a big help.

What motivates you to be involved with Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation?
I really like the message and the end result of helping people with CP.  Whether it is a new parent trying to determine care for a child, or older people that are dealing with CP as they age. CPARF offers information and support all along the way.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I have been blessed with an awesome life, that I have been able to live to the fullest, while starting and raising a family. I would like to thank my parents, sister, family, friends, nurses, doctors, and physical therapists on helping make me the person that I am today.

Q&A With Jason

Jason has a daughter with cerebral palsy and connected with Michael as a result. 

What was your reaction when your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy?
My first thought was, what is cerebral palsy, and what are the steps we need to take for my child to succeed?

What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far while raising your daughter?
The biggest challenge was finding a support system who understands the needs of my daughter and encouraging them to remain strong and help her thrive.a man and his daughter walking their dog on the street.

 What has been the most helpful insight you've learned as parent?
Our first physical therapist was significant in my daughter's progress. She pushed her to the limits and worked through tears, showing us that my daughter is stronger than she seems and that we have to always be ready to fight and push her to be stronger. Mike has also been insightful — speaking to him helped us to understand what my daughter was feeling. as she is still too young to communicate how certain parts of her body are feeling. He also showed us that you can never give up. It feels good to have people that are going through it to help you get through it.

What do you wish you'd known before your daughter was diagnosed with CP?
How she was feeling. She was a baby and we never knew if she was in pain.

What advice would you give to other parents of kids with CP?
Be strong, get a great support system, know that your child is stronger than they think they are. Our kids are special and they are not different than any other child. The one thing I wish I could change is that she would stop stealing my candy. 🙂

What motivates you to be involved with Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation?
Being able to help parents who are just learning about cerebral palsy and knowing that research continues to be done to help find a cure.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If anyone is going through a difficult time trying to understand or navigate what is happening, I am available to talk. I'd like to give a special thanks to my wife, and beautiful daughters for allowing me to be a father. 

Thu 11 Apr 2024

In the first part of our newest Science Spotlight blog, learn how scientists can harness electricity to help with movement disorders that sometimes accompany cerebral palsy.

Thu 04 Apr 2024

Check out the final part of Rindi and Soren’s story.