Neuro physiotherapist Miriam Creeger and her charity partner Emma Livingstone raised over £7,500 by holding a comedy night recently to support the launch of their cerebral palsy (CP) charity Adult CP Hub, the first of its kind in the UK.
Ms Creeger called the event, at the Chicken Shed theatre in north London, ‘a great success’. All tickets were sold and the night attracted an audience of 270 to watch the comedy acts. ‘Four of the comedians had cerebral palsy,’ she added.
Adult CP Hub is a social media resource and community based on Facebook. It aims to represent the needs of adults with CP, which are currently not being adequately served in the UK, said Ms Creeger.
CP is as prevalent as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, with a population of 111,000, but the focus of support is on children and young adults.
‘There are no bespoke services that focus on adults only,’ said Ms Creeger. This is a problem because up to half of adults with CP will have a decline in mobility by the age of 40 and are more likely to develop ageing-related conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis while still of working-age.
Ms Creeger became more aware of this issue while she was working with Emma Livingstone as a client with mild CP. ‘She was a university lecturer and speech and language therapist but had to give up work because of post-impairment syndrome. This is a little understood condition that combines fatigue, exhaustion and pain due to the changing ergonomics of the body caused by CP,’ she explained.
Ms Livingstone was already writing a blog on the challenges she faces. The pair then decided to ‘stop complaining and start campaigning’ by developing a virtual hub to ‘give a voice to this silent community and support service development’, said Ms Creeger. ‘We know there are pockets of good practice. We want to know more on what’s out there.’
They are also working closely with Dr Jennifer Ryan, a physiotherapy-trained senior lecturer previously at Brunel University and now based at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who is pioneering research into the implications of ageing in CP.
’We know 20 per cent of CP sufferers will have a decline in mobility by age 40, which impacts on employability. The aim of the hub is to keep adults with CP active for as long as possible, support pioneering research and campaign for bespoke services for adults with CP,’ Ms Creeger added.
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