When Lauren Walier was born, she weighed less than a pound at 14 ounces, and the doctors said if she was ever to walk, the amount of energy needed to move her legs would feel like walking with 100 pound cinderblocks on her feet.
At the 6th annual Walk, Run, Roll in Lauren’s Shoes, at the Outer Harbor’s Wilkeson Pointe, many people will wear ankle weights to on a small-scale, simulate what Lauren and others with cerebral palsy live with each day.
Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage before, during or immediately after birth. It’s the most common childhood motor disability. When Lauren found out six years ago that there was no federal funding for cerebral palsy, she started the Make LemonAide Foundation for CP.
As in, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
As Lauren grew, the now-21-year-old struggled with mobility, and walking was a big if. She started physical therapy, and five years ago, standing up was a challenge. Today, she just doesn’t walk, she waltzes.
CP affects more than mobility. In the past year, she’s had 22 surgeries on her airway, and is due for another. She hopes to get her voice back to normal while getting enough airflow to breathe.
Through the foundation, she’s raising money for advanced CP treatments, and for more therapists to be trained in Western New York. She’s also fighting for inclusion and acceptance.
“Just because I accept and love myself, doesn’t mean that everyone sees you that way,” she said.