KEEPING IT REAL: Steve’s Story, Part I

KEEPING IT REAL: Steve's Story, Part I
Posted on Fri 26 Feb 2021

Keeping It Real: Steve's Story, Part I

We interviewed nonprofit leader, motivational speaker, and TikToker extraordinaire Steve Ferreira.* This is the first of two blogs featuring his story and you can also find him on Faces of CP.

When were you diagnosed with cerebral palsy and what type(s) of cerebral palsy do you have?
I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy between three and four months of age. I have athetoid cerebral palsy, which means I have involuntary movements and my body fluctuates between hypertonia and hypotonia. 

I also have a seizure disorder for which I take daily medication. I use a motorized wheelchair to get around and travel all over the Seattle area via Metro.

You are the Executive Director of Beyond Disabilities. Tell us about your mission and what you hope to achieve.
Beyond Disabilities’ mission is to inform individuals and communities around the world that if you are disabled, you are just like everyone else…just living life in a different way. Beyond Disabilities’ vision is to envision a world where all people embrace each other’s differences.

Through Beyond Disabilities, I endeavor to advocate for people with disabilities and strive to inspire people to accomplish their own goals. My workshops help the community gain an understanding of living with a disability or perceived limitation and rising beyond it.

How did you first become a motivational speaker? Tell us about one of your most memorable speeches.
In 2004, when I was 15 years old and a freshman in high school, I decided that I wanted to make a difference in the world. I felt that I could not only positively affect the lives of people with disabilities, but also influence the lives of everyone else around me. 

I started to speak at local high schools about what it is like to live with a disability. I also have a presentation called Eradicating Bullying.

During the next seven years, I spoke over 500 times at regional high schools, colleges, churches, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, graduations and numerous other venues. In November 2011, I decided to form Beyond Disabilities, a nonprofit.

My most memorable speeches were in 2012, when I was invited to speak internationally at my birth country, Taiwan. I spoke for the organization that sponsored my adoption, Christian Salvation Services, as well as, two Taiwanese high schools and Dong Hwa University in Hualien, Taiwan.

 

*Steve'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.

In the second of two blog entries, Katy Fetters Gaastra of Cerebral Palsy Strong shares the power behind storytelling, how it can bring people together, and how it can shift our perspectives — including our perspectives about ourselves.

Check out what we're doing and what's planned down the road.