Real Stories from People living with Cerebral Palsy: Sam

Sam’s Story


In 2011, a severe ice storm hit the Midwest, leaving Mary and her family without power, heat, or a reliable car. Mary’s son, Sam, has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that can affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Sam requires a specialized wheelchair and a wheelchair-accessible van in order to move from place to place. But during the ice storm, Mary’s van was damaged, keeping her from taking her son to a place where he could receive proper medical attention in a safe environment.

Mary quickly turned to her local community for help. “I called the sheriff’s office on that day, and was told to take him to the hospital,” she says. She soon realized that there was not an emergency plan in place to provide transportation for people in wheelchairs to help them get to shelters or the hospital. Without transportation, Mary and Sam were left stranded in their home. Mary encourages families with a child with a special health care need who could face similar emergencies to have an escape plan in place. “Have a set plan for transportation and a place that is safe and able to take care of your child.”

CDC would like to thank Mary and Family Voicesexternal iconexternal icon for sharing this personal story.


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