How to live a full life while coping with CP

By Rose Schneider

Like many 22-year-olds, Carol Moore loves playing bingo, spending time on the Internet or with friends, participating in 5k runs, watching sports and doing her job. She excels at these activities while living with type two cerebral palsy.

“I can do pretty much anything anyone else can do; it just takes me a little longer to do it,” Moore said.

Cerebral palsy, also known as CP, is a group of disorders affecting the ability of the brain and nervous system to function together. Depending on its severity, it can impact learning, hearing, seeing and thinking.

Because of CP, Moore is confined to a wheelchair with limited control of her arms, hands and legs. Without support she cannot stand on her own but that doesn’t stop her from doing extraordinary things every day.

Moore’s love for physical activity started at Manhattan High School in physical education classes. She loved the activities. So when her personal caregiver introduced her to Stephanie St. Peter, the owner of Wildcat Nutrition, she was thrilled. Moore started working at Wildcat as a three-day-a-week PR person in May 2011.

She enjoys learning about nutrition and the human body on a daily basis and meeting hundreds of new faces. Her job has motivated her to cut sugary drinks and unhealthful foods from her diet, and to work with a personal trainer to increase upper arm strength.

Living with CP has always been somewhat challenging, but it has become harder as Moore has gotten older.

“I have to have someone with me almost all of the time and have them help me with things,” Moore said. “Especially when it comes to getting out and into the community because I cannot drive.”

However, not being able to drive has not kept her from being active physically. Moore has participated in three 5k races and one 10k race with St. Peter; the first being the annual Autumn and Friends Memorial Run 5k at Tuttle Creek Park on Memorial Day weekend 2011.

“We didn’t really practice before the race but I really enjoyed it,” Moore said. “5ks are my favorite activity by far.”

Moore is looking forward to participating in two upcoming 5ks within the next six months and wouldn’t mind doing another 10k. She said her first 10k was difficult, not because of the distance but because it took place in the rain.

Being active in the community has also given her the opportunity to educate people about living with CP.

“I used to get really nervous when someone would approach me because I didn’t know them or what they were going to say, but now I’m really happy when people talk to me because it makes me feel like they want to learn more about CP,” Moore said.

Working at Wildcat Nutrition gives her that opportunity to share her experiences.

“Many people think when they first meet Carol that she can’t hear; that her chair makes her deaf,” said Carol’s mother, Gail Moore.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Moore has superb hearing and loves interacting with everyone and anyone; sometimes it just takes her longer to respond than someone who doesn’t have CP.

“I’m really outgoing; people don’t think I am because of my disability but I am and I like to prove them wrong,” Moore said.

Recent technology has helped Moore better communicate with friends and those she meets through work. Before she got an iPhone, she had to have someone help her send text messages or call people. But with the use of Apple’s Siri, an intelligent personal assistant, she can send text messages, make calls, set reminders or read emails using her voice instead of her hands.

“The iPhone has been really helpful to me because it has made communicating easier…I can do more things on my own,” Moore said.

She also uses a voice recognition program on her MacBook Pro called Dragon that allows her to command her computer to do things for her, such as type and send emails.

The use of technology has helped her to lead a more privatized and independent life both at home and in public.

Moore sees herself as a leader in the community and hopes to shine light for others who live in Manhattan with disabilities.

“I’m not a follower, I’m a leader,” Moore said. “That’s my personality.”

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