Meet Melissa: How your support is helping Island kids and youth with cerebral palsy
Victoria resident Melissa Lyon wears many hats. Not only does she work at the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC as a disability consultant and blog writer, at the University of Victoria as an Accessibility Learning Experience Designer, and at Capilano University as a Continuing Education instructor for two inclusion and accessibility courses, she is also the co-leader of a project dedicated to raising awareness of cerebral palsy (CP) across Vancouver Island.
Melissa was involved with Children’s Health Foundation’s Let’s Talk CP and Complex Needs as a young adult with cerebral palsy. She took part in the focus group series, which had the goal of engaging families with lived experience, service providers, and health care professionals to best understand how the Foundation could provide support.
The series determined that it is overwhelming for families to navigate through the variety of systems to find the “right” treatment, medical assistive device, funding, education supports, and recreation opportunities. Often, people feel alone in the process or unable to take on everything that needs to be done.
As a next step to deepen support, Children’s Health Foundation is funding the Cerebral Palsy Awareness Project, which has the goal of increasing awareness and improving understanding of CP on Vancouver Island. The leaders of the project, including Melissa, hope that it will connect others with CP on the Island with the resources and supports they need so they can live a happy, fulfilled life.
“We’re creating a resource guide that outlines the resources and supports that the south, mid, and north Island have available for people living with CP. On top of that, we’re creating concrete ways to connect with people of different age groups. A couple of examples we’re thinking of include a puppet show about CP for kids and a graphic novel about CP for young adults,” says Melissa.
The project leaders also plan to connect with different communities that support kids and youth with CP, including schools, community organizations, and the health sector. Melissa hopes that the project will continue to grow and help others living with disabilities across the province, and eventually the country.
When asked about the impact of the project on her life, Melissa reflects, “It’s helped me accept my CP first and foremost. It has helped me grow as a person. It has helped me gain knowledge on resources and supports that I can apply for and share that with others. It has helped me become even more of an advocate for people with disabilities.”
With your gift to Children’s Health Foundation, you can help connect Island kids and youth with cerebral palsy to the supports that they need.