The Cerebral Palsy Association of Newfoundland and Labrador was originally founded in 1963 by Gertrude Crosbie, C.M. LL.D (Hon.), and her husband Bill to ensure that children with cerebral palsy would receive adequate education. It was then called the Cerebral Palsy Parents Association, and the people involved started and upkept the Virginia Waters School for children with disabilities to fulfil their purpose. In 1967, the CPPA facilitated the formation of the Cerebral Palsy Adult Group which enabled adults with CP to meet, socialize, and learn from each other. The commitment and forward thinking of these parents enabled many children and adults with disabilities, including some from institutions like the Exon House and the Children’s Home, to go on and lead fulfilling lives and have successful careers. As with the original association, what makes CPANL such an effective organization today is its unwavering sense of community, dedication, and justice. We carry on the legacy of Gertrude Crosbie by continuing her fight for equal access to opportunities for those with disabilities.
CPANL today is a registered non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of people affected by cerebral palsy and other disabilities across our province. CPANL is a member of the Cerebral Palsy Canada Network, which is a collaboration of CP organizations across Canada who have come together with local communities and researchers to develop new strategies for addressing issues faced by Canadians with CP and other disabilities. For most of its existence, CPANL has been run by volunteers and overseen by a Board of Directors made up of persons with cerebral palsy, parents, and professionals.
With CP affecting 2-3 out of every 1000 Canadians, we feel that it is essential to make sure all Canadians have access to information about the diagnosis of CP. Understanding is at the root of acceptance, so we promote awareness of CP and those living with it through our educational programs available to both children and adults. We also take a more technology-savvy approach to education and awareness through our social media pages. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (see the bottom of this page for links) for the latest news about upcoming events, fundraisers, volunteer opportunities, CP research, surveys, and more. Our website is also full of helpful information about CP itself, our organization and its services, and the resources available to those living with CP in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Many people with CP and other disabilities have trouble finding inclusive and accessible spaces for socializing and recreation, which are important aspects of anyone’s day-to-day life. The services that we provide open up safe spaces for fun, fitness, companionship, and creativity. We provide social events such as meetups, movie nights, and holiday parties. We host inclusive activities such as paint nights and exercise classes. We also facilitate support groups for people of all ages, including parental support meetings and play groups for children.
Our organization encourages and assists those affected by CP to reach their maximum potential, and we know that many people with CP require support to do so. Since every person’s needs are different, we recognize that accommodations can be varied and expensive. That is why we aid families affected by CP through direct assistance to help ease the burden of medical expenses such as travel and equipment. We are also able to provide one post-secondary scholarship per year for a person with CP to help them embark on an educational pursuit of their choosing. Additionally, we take the time to connect families and individuals with other organizations who offer similar aid.
WHAT KEEPS US GOING
As with any charitable organization, fundraisers, volunteers, and donations make it possible for us to provide financial assistance and to offer enriching programs and education. That said, we truly appreciate the support of our province-wide community for contributing what time and resources they can, and in doing so, helping us build a better, more inclusive future for all.
The Cerebral Palsy Association of NL, 2021