World Cerebral Palsy Day is celebrated on the 6th of October each year. World Cerebral Palsy Day is a movement of people suffering from cerebral palsy and their families, and the organizations that support them, in more than 60 countries.
World Cerebral Palsy day's vision is to ensure that children and adults with cerebral palsy (CP) have the same rights, access and opportunities as anyone else in our society. It is only together, that we can make that happen.
The World Cerebral Palsy Day concept was developed by an international group of cerebral palsy services called the World Cerebral Palsy Initiative. The project is a part of a broader vision to draw attention and address the concerns of people with cerebral palsy and their families by averaging the collective and regional experience of members and their organizations. The lead organization for World Cerebral Palsy Day (WCPD) is Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Australia, with support from Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta - Canada and UCP in the USA.
Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disorder in childhood. Cerebral palsy affects 17 million people globally, and 350 million family members and caregivers. It is caused by an injury to the developing brain which occurs before, during or soon after birth. For most cases, the cause is unknown. Cerebral palsy is a major disability that affects movement and is often accompanied by speech, swallowing, cognitive, vision and hearing impairments.
The theme for world cerebral palsy day 2017 is - 'We will tell the world … I am here, we are here'. It is the best time to close the gap between the everyday circumstances and the real potential of people living with cerebral palsy. Too many people receive ineffective therapies, too many individuals and their families lack access to basic information and support, too little money is being spent on research, and many of the societies keep people with cerebral palsy out of sight, out of mind and out of options.
The first World Cerebral Palsy Day campaign was called 'Change My World in 1 Minute'. The project sought ideas from the global community of people with Cerebral Palsy for technologies and products that needed inventing - that had the potential to 'change the world' for people living with CP.
In 2012, more than 470 ideas were posted on the World Cerebral Palsy Day website. Three ideas were shortlisted and then the call went out to inventors. A team from the University of Virginia (USA) won the major prize. They developed a prototype solar powered wheelchair which was an idea posted by Alper Sirvan, a man with cerebral palsy in Turkey. The wheelchair prototype was presented to Alper on World Cerebral Palsy Day 2013.
In 2015, the campaign evolved into a social movement that targets the six key issues that affect people with Cerebral Palsy around the world, irrespective of geographical, cultural and economic differences. The website provides tools and resources for organizations to adapt and take steps locally and, in doing so, builds the global movement for change.
One of the key goals of World Cerebral Palsy Day is to help foster an environment of inclusion and acceptance around the world and to instill confidence and a feeling of belonging to individuals with Cerebral Palsy. Organizations around the world do this by recognizing the achievements and honoring the lives of those who struggle with CP every day. It also helps connect the loved ones of people with Cerebral Palsy so that they can build a stronger support system.