KEEPING IT REAL: Kristen’s Story

Thu 15 Feb 2024

KEEPING IT REAL: Kristen’s Story*
By Kristen Griffiths

Describe what it was like to grow up with cerebral palsy.
Kids treated me like I had a contagious disease until they got to know me. I felt like everything I did revolved around my cerebral palsy.

What's your relationship with your cerebral palsy? 

Today it is that yes I have cerebral palsy but it doesn’t define me.

How did you get into pageants (or what was the process/experience of winning Miss Heart of Lancaster Teen 2023)?
I got into a pageant in October 2022. My first competition was the Miss Northeastern Pennsylvania competition. I got to talk about my cerebral palsy and the work I do with educating others. When I won, I became the first local girl in the Pennsylvania system to advocate for cerebral palsy. Getting to go to the states and talk about it on a bigger stage felt amazing. 

What kinds of things do you do for fun? Do you have to make adaptations to do them?
I love to twirl I have done it for fourteen years now and with that came obstacles I had to face, but I always made it work.

Tell us about your community service experience. 

Through my community service, I educate others with my Unstoppable presentation and how children and adults with cerebral palsy need the same chance as everyone else.

What achievement are you most proud of and why?
Winning my current title of Miss Moraine State’s Teen and getting to take about donating to Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation to help out people with cerebral palsy.

What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
I hope to win Miss Pennsylvania and bring my advocacy to the national level to grow my Unstoppable Foundation and have everyone know what cerebral palsy is.

What advice would you give your younger self?
To believe in yourself. You can do this no matter what it takes.

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

That cerebral palsy is more common than they think.

What advice would you give others with cerebral palsy?
Don’t give up on your dreams it will happen.

*Kristen'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 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.

Tue 16 Jul 2024

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Wed 10 Jul 2024

A green background with black rectangle across the bottom. In the left are the colors of the disability pride flag to the right white text reads "Hosted by" the the CPARF and CVI logos. Above, text in dark grey reads: CP & CVI Now: A Community Discussion followed by July 25, 2024 from 5:30-6:30 pm ET.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation (CPARF) and CVI Now (part of the CVI Center at Perkins School for the Blind) are hosting a joint event on Thursday, July 25 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm ET. Launching CPARF’s new “CP &…” series, the event will dive deep into the connections between cerebral palsy (CP) and […]