Take on 31 Miles This March for CP Awareness Month 

Cerebral Palsy Sport (CP Sport) is inviting everyone to take on ’31 Miles This March’ and raise money for CP Sport as part of CP Awareness Month.

CP Awareness Month

Each March, CP Sport celebrates CP Awareness Month by bringing together the CP community to share experiences and highlight how sport and physical activity can transform the lives of people living with cerebral palsy.

Why it’s important to get involved

Around 1 in 400 babies are born with cerebral palsy in the UK every year and 160,000 people are currently living with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy can affect movement, speech & balance and no two people are affected in the same way.

Being physically active and taking part in sport can be life enhancing. It provides mental, social, and physical benefits which can include increased confidence, motivation, and friendships. Being part of a club and activity might be the only time young people with cerebral palsy regularly meet up with each other which can be empowering for the individual and provide an opportunity for families to network.

People with cerebral palsy have shared their personal experiences with CP Sport stating that regular exercise and developing strength can have a variety of positive effects on their feeling of independence and day to day lives, which have included improved handwriting, reduced spasms, or enabling them sit up unaided.

Unfortunately, barriers to activity for many disabled people still exist. Sport England’s Active Lives Survey shows that disabled people are almost twice as likely to be physically inactive compared with those without a disability [i] , and research from the Activity Alliance confirms that disabled people’s lives have been the hardest hit by COVID-19 leaving many disabled people feeling isolated, anxious and lacking the support needed to stay active  [ii]

As restrictions ease, CP Sport is working hard to break down these ongoing barriers so that people with cerebral palsy are not left behind, are able to access opportunities that they enjoy and are able to take part in physical activity locally and regularly, making healthy habits for life.

Throughout CP Awareness Month, CP Sport will be sharing the experiences of young people with cerebral palsy who take part in sport and activity to highlight the impact it has on their lives.

 Doing regular exercises reduces stiffness in my limbs so I can walk further” Tyrone

“Rosie’s stability has changed since taking part in sport, she is nowhere near as wobbly” Jo

“The friends I have made through sport has given me a whole new outlook on the world” Thomas

TV and film actor RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad) has cerebral palsy and has been a supporter of CP Sport over the past year including presenting at its annual awards in December. He said;

“As a kid, regular exercise or being involved with a sport didn’t seem like something I could do like all the other kids. But with physical therapy and specialised treatments, I came to learn that I can play with them just as well as any other kid and that helped me gain so much more strength and confidence in my ability to move my body. As I’ve grown up and also progressed as an actor, taking on physical roles aren’t always something offered to me but they do come along, like recently playing a competitive wrestler in TRIUMPH, but I can’t do that without taking care of myself with proper training and exercise.”

RJ Mitte. Actor with cerebral palsy

RJ Mitte. Image credit: Bobby Quillard

 How you can make a difference

CP Sport can grow its reach and support more people with cerebral palsy thanks to fundraising.

In 2021 CP Sport held 60 events in person and virtually across the country supporting almost a thousand participants, creating a friendly and welcoming community with the support of volunteers and partners. In 2022, CP Sport is working to develop regional hubs so that more local opportunities become available.

Increased accessibility and choice are crucial steps in enabling people with cerebral palsy to take part in activity but we need your support to make this happen.

Join the 31 Miles This March group today!

From swimming to running, pushing to walking, you can take part at any time in March or do a mile a day – whichever way suits you. Challenge yourself to more or less miles too!

For those who are on Facebook simply join the Facebook group and follow the steps to start fundraising as well as enjoying some social interaction and sharing of progress. Alternatively, participants can set up a Just Giving page or simply donate to CP Sport. Everyone taking part in this fundraiser will be able to register for a free t-shirt.

For more information about how to support CP Awareness month visit:  https://cpsport.org/cp-awareness-month/

[i] Sport England: https://www.sportengland.org/know-your-audience/demographic-knowledge/disabled-people

[ii] Activity Alliance: https://www.activityalliance.org.uk/how-we-help/research/6011-activity-alliance-annual-disability-and-activity-survey-feb-2021