Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to our 2nd Annual Green Tie Cocktail Fundraiser and Auction at the fabulous Capella Resort here in Marigot Bay.
It is an honor for me to be here tonight as the Patron of Saint Lucia’s Cerebral Palsy Association (CPA).
4 years have passed since I was asked by Daria and Diane to become the Patron of CPA.
Now many of you know that I already am wearing so many different hats and you might ask why would I have agreed to take on this role.
When most of your work – like mine does- centers around tourism, you spend a lot of your time promoting that perfect Caribbean vacation experience.
Sadly, we all know that growing up, living and working in the Caribbean is just not quite as perfect as we would want it to be and for many of us, life as a whole is not quite like that perfect experience we promote to our visitors
So being the Patron of the Cerebral Palsy Association reminds me that there is a lot of work to be done in so many areas to truly make Saint Lucia the best place for all of our citizens to live and work in.
And also, as I was researching Cerebral Palsy and the more I learned about the many different scenarios that can lead to this life-long condition, the more I realized that I would in fact be able to contribute to this cause, especially in the areas of fundraising and the building of awareness.
Over the past years we were able to raise some funds successfully. In 2014 we raised EC 39.000 through auctioning off a stay at Jade Mountain on an auction site called Charity Buzz and in 2015 the German Embassy in Trinidad provide a grant of EC 21.000. All of these funds were used for the purchase of specialty equipment.
The Cerebral Palsy Association also held Annual Bingo Nights over the last 3 years and arranged this Fundraiser we are attending tonight which is our 2nd. Last but not least the Rotary Club has been sponsoring the Monthly Horseback Riding programs for the years 2015 & 2016 and we thank them most sincerely for their support.
But there of course remains a lot to be done.
So where does our journey start? Let us start by looking at the mothers and fathers. No parent is prepared for the birth of a medically fragile child, a child with potentially serious health challenges and complex disabilities.
One of things that we must do as a society is to ensure that mothers and fathers don’t need to feel quite so lonely when learning to cope with their new reality.
The risks and dangers of caregiver burnout are serious and the caregivers deserve all the support we can give them for them to remain strong and stay resilient for years to come.
The support system around them should not only include family and friends but cerebral palsy support groups and experienced health professionals that work within a public health care system that is geared towards the special needs of persons affected by Cerebral Palsy.
We need our government and private sector to join forces and collaborate for best outcome for the children affected by Cerebral Palsy . We must allow for these children to be integrated into our society from birth and throughout their lives to a much greater extent.
There still are a lot of people that are nervous around persons with disabilities or persons that simply are different, speak differently or walk differently. Building awareness and greater understanding is just one of the many challenges to overcome.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe that you would not be here tonight if you did not share the passion for our cause and the interest to see this better inclusion in society and education of our children affected by Cerebral Palsy.
We know that with early recognition of the condition, with the right therapy and with an early intervention there could be some level of normalcy reached for these children.
And also, we have a responsibility to raise awareness regarding the many unfortunate circumstances during the pre-natal stages and at childbirth that could lead to a perfectly healthy child to be afflicted with Cerebral Palsy.
The Celebral Palsy Association’s goals for 2017 include lobbying for more elaborate health, social and education services for the children.
The children need a support team – including a pediatric neurologist – to manage their development and also, to ensure a better quality of life.
We are also asking for the development of a better holistic health plan that should include free regular visits to a doctor at designated times.
We are also asking for a review of the education plan for children with Cerebral Palsy. While school age usually starts at 5 years, there is a need for an educational plan and socialization from an earlier age.
Our plans must include teacher aids and adaptable equipment to ensure these children can maximize their potential.
As and I finish, I want to thank Daria and Diane for their trust they have placed in me to become their patron and I can assure them and all of you here of my complete commitment to our cause.
About the Cerebral Palsy Association
The Cerebral Palsy Association (CPA) was formed to assist and advocate for people affected by Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a life-long condition caused by damage to the motor control centre of the brain and as a result affects mobility; however, with the right therapy and intervention there could be some level of normalcy.
The association was registered with the Ministry of Social Transformation in May 2012. We currently have a membership of 54 children of ages 1 year to 17 years.
The executive consists of The executive consists of Daria Robinson Ernest- President, Diane Leonce- Vice President, Kezie Stanislaus-Secretary, Chanelle Gervais- Deputy Secretary, Deseree Desrivieres- Treasurer, Sandra Surage – Public Relations Officers. .
Cerebral Palsy is a life-long condition caused by damage to the motor control centre of the brain and as a result affects mobility; however, with the right therapy and intervention there could be some level of normalcy.
Phone: 286-4729 / 726-6438