Cerebral Palsy awareness – Steptember

Every coin has two sides. Me? I’m lucky I have Cerebral Palsy.

I don’t often write (seriously) about it and it isn’t something that is a general conversation topic with those who aren’t close to me. There are however times when it’s appropriate to talk about it and the impact it has on my day-to-day life in-depth. This is one of them.11204-cerebral-palsy-awareness

My Cerebral Palsy is mild. That means most people won’t notice it. A shortage of oxygen to the brain and my brain plates not fusing properly is what caused my CP, and I can’t say that thinking about those causes makes me feel invincible.

For as long as I can remember my family have been awesome in making sure I had every available chance to have the highest quality of life possible. And I owe them a lot for that. I remember crying at the thought of wearing my AFO’s to bed (the things that are like shoes that keep your feet straight) and throwing the biggest tantrum the day of my Botox because I couldn’t go and see Casper the Friendly Ghost with my sisters. That would be the same sisters who have constantly had my back when I was called “different” (and many worse things) by those wonderful individuals I had the pleasure of being the same age and live in the same town as. Again, big shoutout for them for keeping me calm in the moments where I couldn’t calm myself.

CP is a fascinating thing. As someone living with it, I think I view it differently to those around me. There are days where I think it’s going to win, or that it already has, but strangely enough on those days it becomes my biggest source of strength. I know my limitations, which at times I try to ignore because I was taught to believe that nothing is impossible. I know that the fighting spirit I have came from the way my parents approached my situation. Nothing was too big a task, no matter the strain it put on them. That hasn’t changed in 26 and a half years and it never will. No words I can write here are ever going to be enough to say how I feel about the person they’ve helped me become.

A lifetime ago. I could swim. I met some great people, did some cool things, saw some great places and have a few bits of paper with the words Australian Record Holder written on them. What might have been? Ask me, I think about it every single day. I wouldn’t have been out of bed at 5.20am four days and week and being picked up at 6pm the same days if it wasn’t for those closest to me telling me I could do anything I wanted.

Not everyone is as lucky as me, and when I see those who aren’t a sense of guilt washes over me. What has that person done to have that life thrust upon them, and how come that didn’t happen to me? All questions that I shouldn’t be asking but I can’t help it.

A lot of the thoughts I’ve written here have never been committed to paper or screen before, because they’re private. Why now then? Cerebral Palsy isn’t something you can buy a few meds for and everything is going to be under control. It’s something that comes without a cure. Raising money makes things easier for families, as well as those who commit their lives to reducing the likelihood of people being born with the disability. I know money doesn’t grow on trees, but anything is great and if you donate more than $2 it’s tax-deductible.

The goal is simple. 10,000 steps a day. The logistics, not so much. For me, walking long distances leaves me rather sore, so please support my efforts to not be able to move by the end of next month!

I’m happy to talk more about Steptember or Cerebral Palsy with anyone, so if you’ve got a question then get in touch.

Lastly, a big thanks to those doing this with me, and supporting something that has inadvertently become part of their lives.

You can donate here:

https://event.steptember.org.au/donate/onbehalfof?id=73260d58-4084-4a2f-9ecb-20f1ca77ec0b

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Strong Tee-Ball debut for Ward

Friday afternoon saw the dawning of a new era at the Essendon Baseball Club as five-year-old Cooper Ward made his first of what is predicted to be many starts for the Bombers.

1374131_10151723001563386_289870780_nEarly nerves were apparent for the youngster in the field, but by the time he stepped up to the plate for his first at bat, no trace of the nerves remained.

In a 2-2 night, Ward lined his first single to short right, before firing back past the pitcher in his second at bat to complete the perfect night.

He didn’t see much action in the field all night, with the support of his teammates helping the side claw back late to claim the tie, a result which hasn’t occurred for over a year in a game involving the Bombers.

Speaking after the game, Ward expressed his delight at how his debut went and said he can’t wait to get on the diamond next week as he looks to extend his strong start to the season.

Home club shines in Sunday finale

A frantic day of Gymnastics came to a close on Sunday afternoon at the Essendon Keilor Gymnastics Academy with several first time competitors stealing the spotlight.

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Emma Ward was a standout performer at the EKGA meet on Sunday

With the school holidays just around the corner excitement is already paramount in many households around Melbourne.

This was increased exponentially yesterday with as hordes of gymnasts had the opportunity to harness their energy across the floor, bars, vault and beam disciplines.

Before the competition began the enthusiasm was clear as all competitors took to the floor for a 20 minute warm up, which also served as an opportunity for them adapt to the main stage, a task which many of them took in their stride.

Among the highlights of the afternoon was Seven year-old Emma Ward of Gowanbrae who showed great prowess across the afternoon collecting a Gold medal on the Floor as well as two Silver medals on the Beam and Bars respectively, which combined to propel her EKGA White outfit to a second placed finish.

Despite showing early signs of nerves, Ward quickly settled, saying after the competition it was merely a case of doing what she knew best.

“I knew that I’d practiced a lot, so there was no need for me to worry about what I could or couldn’t do. That meant that by halfway through my floor routine it was just case of doing what I do.”

The success of her first competition will act as a great springboard for Ward, who will compete in three more competitions over the next month.

 

 

The Junction Hotel – A hidden gem

The Weekend before last I had a few days away from my busy schedule. The Saturday afternoon of the Queens Birthday weekend offered the chance to take in some VFL Football. Thanks to a few issues with public transport I found myself, with company in tow at the Junction Hotel in Newport.

I’d only discovered the Junction Hotel a few weeks before after an e-mail from my dad described it as “The best undiscovered pub in Melbourne”.

For anyone with a love of good craft beer that statement can mean only one thing – It won’t stay undiscovered by me for too long.

Newport, for those of you who haven’t ventured there, is a suburb in Melbourne’s South-West, which can best be described as a bit run-down and rough if you will.

Naturally, seeing an old hotel in this area didn’t leave me with high expectations.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The refurbishment of the Junction Hotel (which from the outside appears to be your run of the mill 1970’s hotel), creates a spacious feel, with steel stools and thick wooden tables making sure customers have a comfortable experience.

Onto the main matter at hand – the beer.

Rather than umming and ahhing about what I should have I made the easiest decision – the four 150ml beer tasting paddle for $12.

Not only did it stand out in value, but as you can see from the picture below the beers varied in colour, from the Mountain Goat Steam Ale to my more fancied Bridge Road porter and there wasn’t a bad drop amongst them.

Another great aspect of the experience was the food, which came served on paddles similar to those the beer tasters were served on, with portion sizes big enough to share and well priced.

With the convenience of being right next to a train station there’s no excuse not to go, and with a beer for every occasion, I can guarantee you won’t be let down.

 

(L-R) Mountain goat steam ale, Grizz American Ale, 2 Birds Sunset Ale, Bridge Road Porter.