Cerebral palsy is a lifelong physical disability that affects millions around the world hence, it is important to raise awareness about this condition. Knowledge about the causes, symptoms and treatments of cerebral palsy should be spread so that those suffering from it can receive the best possible care, support and treatment.
There are many organizations working to raise awareness about this condition, one of which is premiere leadership development organization Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila.
JCI Manila has supported the advocacy for increased cerebral palsy awareness through its own Project-CPAG (Cerebral Palsy Awareness Group) under the Golden Heart initiative since 2015.
“This is a continuing endeavor for JCI Manila. We have a program to help PWDs called the Golden Heart and we were assigned particularly with cerebral palsy because that's where the Golden Hearts started –– helping out patients with Cerebral Palsy before it branched out to help others PWDs,” said Bobbit Castro, JCI-Manila CPAG Chairman, in an interview.
This year, the group has strengthened its support for cerebral palsy awareness by launching a three-series book that aims to help more people understand the condition and provide support for families of those born with it.
The three books, written by Kimberly Pauig and illustrated by Yvan Limson, were launched during an event hosted by JCI Manila at the San Andres Sports Complex.
“The unique things about this year's project is the production and publishing of children's books. The objective for the first book, 'Ang Kapa ni Rafa,' is to discuss the possible symptoms of cerebral palsy.
“The second book, 'Bakit Mahilig sa Dagat si Nanay?' is about the treatment methods and highlighting the role of the caregiver because the caregivers are sometimes the mothers. They're with them 24/7 so hopefully the mother or the caregiver will pick up ideas from the book.
“The third is 'Pupunta sa Dagat si Rafa,' which establishes the community or the roles of doctors, therapists and even the neighbors — how they can help improve the lives of cerebral palsy patients,” Castro mentioned.
The easy-read book series is in collaboration with Dr. Pablo Beleen, a renowned international specialist in the treatment of cerebral palsy and pediatric rehabilitation, and CP Cares, an empowered CP community composed of patients (CP Warriors) and their families.
“In the end, the main objectives of this event are for CP warriors (patients) and their families to have access to relevant medical practices and practitioners through the publication of these books highlighting the Bobath Approach,” Castro continued.
Aside from the book launch, a symposium was also held where speakers discussed the Bobath method and developmental pediatrics pertaining to cerebral palsy.
Bobath is a physiotherapy treatment that aims to improve movement and mobility in patients with damage to their central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Many physiotherapists use Bobath in the rehabilitation of patients with cerebral palsy.
The panelists in the symposium were Dr. Pablo Beleen, a renowned international specialist in treating cerebral palsy and pediatric rehabilitation and Dr. Alexis De Leon Reyes, a pioneering developmental and behavioral pediatrician.
The event attendees included 100 CP warriors and their families; partner institutions The Vanguard Academy and Metropolitan Medical Center; students from the University of Perpetual Help, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and Universidad de Manila; and JCI Manila officers and members.
Aside from listening to experts talk about CP, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, CP Warriors and their families to meet other families who are going through the same situation and visited the Manila Zoo right after.
“We'd like to thank JCI Manila and our panelist doctors for doing this in the City of Manila. Increased awareness about cerebral palsy is very important because it helps improve the quality of life of our CP warriors,” said Manila Vice Mayor Yul Servo Nieto who personally graced the event.
The symposium and book launch was presented by JCI Manila with the City of Manila, One Manila Organization, Office of the Honorable Vice Mayor Yul Servo Nieto, Sonera Industrial Group Inc., Royalty88manufacturing, Ricoh Philippines, and PalawanPay.
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