When Paris was diagnosed with CP at birth, Krystal knew the disorder would impact her daughter in many ways. But she determined early on that she wouldn’t let it define Paris. “Paris’s CP will never go away,” Krystal explains. “But that doesn’t mean she has to be limited by it. Paris is intelligent, vibrant, beautiful, and capable. She is Paris, first and foremost. Her condition is secondary.”
While it’s obvious to Krystal that Paris is so much more than her illness, others don’t always see that. “The hardest thing about Paris having CP is dealing with the way others see her,” Krystal shares. “They look at her, and the condition is the first thing they see. I try to advocate and educate. But some days it’s exhausting. I just wish more people could see Paris as a person.”
Although it can be difficult to deal with, the way others see her doesn’t define Paris either. She is always unapologetically herself. “Our daughter is funny!” Krystal says. “She is energetic and opinionated. She loves getting dressed up and listening to music. She loves play time and story time. She can hear you and see you. She may not look the way you do, or communicate the way you do, but just say hi. Just be yourself around her, and give her the space to be herself. When you do, you’ll get to know a truly amazing little girl.”
March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. We hope you took some time this month to learn more about CP. We hope you advocate for those in your community who may be a little different, like Paris. But most of all, we hope you remember that, no matter the challenges they face, a person is a person. Just say hello.