Meet Bill: Our First Honorary Friends & Family Ambassador

Sun 15 May 2016

Introducing our first Honorary Friends & Family Ambassador, Bill Richards, Jr., from Sacramento, California. At 42 years of age and living with a condition that makes it impossible to do unaided some of the basic daily activities that many of us take for granted, Bill doesn’t let it bring his spirits down. He also doesn’t let it stop him from traveling the world, with places like Hawaii, Mexico, Chicago and New York in his passport.

“The trip to Mexico I took for a cousin’s wedding was one that I will never forget. Puebla Mexico is not good for a wheelchair as it turns out,” he quips, when asked about his travels. “If the flights were shorter, and if the countries in Europe were better for wheelchairs, I guess somewhere in Europe might be on my bucket list.”

Bill writes to us with the help of computer software that writes speech-to-text through his laptop, gets around in a powered wheelchair, and has carers to assist in washing and bathroom visits. “There’s no reason to feel sorry for me, mate,” he laughs, “although it sure has been an interesting ride!”

Bill divides his time between speaking to 2nd and 3rd grade children at schools to raise awareness about disabilities, and a host of social activities. “I enjoy visiting friends and family, going swimming, out to meals, and to movies.” His favorite football team? “I love the San Francisco 49ers!”

While Bill doesn’t feel that there is anything wrong with his life, he passionately believes in research into preventing and curing cerebral palsy. “I would say to the science experts working on cerebral palsy research to just keep up the hard work, and don’t give up.”

“Cerebral palsy research is important to me, I would say, to keep improving the lives of anyone with cerebral palsy, and perhaps, one day in the future, to make it so maybe no one has to live with cerebral palsy, ever again, hopefully.”

When asked what he would invent if he could invent the next technology for people with cerebral palsy he struggled between some choices. “I would create some way I could drive myself in my van, or take myself to the restroom, or some way that I could walk by myself. Although I don’t really think about that last one very much at all.”

As our Family & Friends Honorary Ambassador he offers this advice to young children with cerebral palsy; “Humor, and a lot of patience are very important things to have.”

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