Lucy Meyer is a spunky Los Angeles 7th grader who has served in her school’s student government, gripes about homework, what’s for dinner – and has Cerebral Palsy (CP).
Cerebral palsy is the general term used to describe a group of conditions that are not progressive (they do not get worse over time) nor contagious (one can’t ‘catch’ cerebral palsy) that are the result of a trauma to the cerebrum in pregnancy, at birth or up to the age of about three. The result of the trauma, a lesion on the motor control part of the brain, causes mild to severe dysfunction in the person’s muscle tone, movement and their posture.
Fourteen year old Meyer’s CP (the result of about five minutes of oxygen deprivation at birth) affects her, “eyes and speech a little,” as she reports on her UNICEF page where she goes on, “My right hand doesn’t work as well as my left one, and my right heel won’t touch the ground–so I am a ‘toe walker’. School subjects are a little tougher for me than most kids and I can’t button my pants!”
But, with the support she receives at her public school and from her family she, “plays soccer, softball, handball, basketball and tennis.” Meyer also likes to swim and surf, ride bikes and skateboard and she does all this while serving as the official spokesperson for UNICEF for children with disabilities; there are many Ambassadors for UNICEF–but Lucy is the sole official spokesperson.
Meyer met with President Barack Obama recently to discuss her UNICEF work, it was a highlight for her – and for the president per Meyer, “I got to speak with President Obama about the work that I am doing on for UNICEF to help children with disabilities all over the world! …He is sooo nice and even asked for a big hug when we were done talking!!”
Lucy Meyer says that, “I am having so much fun just being me,” and as any parent of an adolescent knows – even the President of the United States — this is high praise for the village that is raising this extraordinary 14 year old girl, whose activities you can see on her Facebook page and especially heartening when you think that her parents were told that their tiny infant might never sit up or swallow.
Not only is Lucy sitting up [writer’s note; from what her stepmother tells me, getting her to sit down is a much bigger challenge, frankly] and serving as a UNICEF ambassador and promoter but she is also thriving as one of 52 athletes on the Southern California Special Olympic team (chosen from the 14,000 disabled athletes in our area) who will participate in the USA Games which will take place June 14-21 2014 in New Jersey where fellow competitors will stay in the Olympic Village for a week and compete in three swimming competitions against other Special Olympic athletes from all over the country.
To support her ambassadorship to help children across the globe enjoy their lives to the fullest – as she is able to do – please consider donating to UNICEF via Meyer’s Facebook page.