KEEPING IT REAL: A Q&A With Jennifer

Fri 22 Apr 2022

KEEPING IT REAL: Jennifer's Story
By Jennifer Bodnar*

Check out this question-and-answer style blog. For more from Jennifer, you can find her on Faces of CP.

What achievement are you most proud of and why?

Graduating from college with a Bachelor's degree in business because there were quite a few teachers that told me and my parents as I was growing up in elementary school that I would not go to college or if I did I wouldn’t make it through because of my CP.

What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?

I hope to become more independent.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You need to create and stick to some form of an exercise routine because it will help your muscles stay strong and loose as you get older. You are amazing just the way you are no matter what.

What do you wish other people knew about what it's like to have cerebral palsy?

For me it’s a little different because my cerebral palsy is mild. But I wish people knew that there are good and bad days with CP. Like for me I can go for a while without pain or discomfort. But then I could do something simple and my calf or Achilles tendon starts to get tight and hurt. Also, stress can play a big part with CP. Even though stress is unavoidable, managing stress helps with how the body and muscles react.

What advice would you give others with cerebral palsy?

Learn to be yourself and love yourself. You are going to struggle with wanting to be “normal”. I have for many years, especially when I was younger. But you need to learn to love yourself as you are because you are amazing. 

Is there anything else you'd like people to know about you?

I love being creative. Whether it’s cooking, baking, making documents for work or special events, or writing, it doesn’t matter. 

*Jennifer's story is part of KEEPING IT REAL — a series of personal stories that will take you deeper into the lives of people with CP. Each person makes different choices based on what works for them, and we’ll showcase that — highlighting what life is like for them on a daily basis, what they care about, and the ways CP impacts them. 

The KEEPING IT REAL 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, medical endorsement, or other 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.

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.