I was going through some old posts, and my linked within widget lead me to the below posted college entrance essay, originally written in 2003. I wrote it for the MC Scholars program (I didn't get in). You had to write the book jacket from your memoir you just finished in 2025, when I am 40. I thought I'd repost in honor of the fact that for the second time in just over a month I participated in the beginning stages of writing disability related federal legislation that will affect the lives of millions of people. Today was related to the Caring Across Generations campaign, in June it was the latest version of the CCA. At the time I never in my wildest dreams thought that would really happen. The original post has a bit more on how my life is really turning out vs what this says would happen.
Triumphs Over Struggles: The Ups and Downs of Life with Cerebral Palsy is an ordinary book about an ordinary person who fought for ordinary things. It is the autobiography of Cheryl *censored*, a wife, mother, and social worker at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, a hospital that services pediatric orthopedic and brain disorders exclusively. She has spent her whole life fighting. Although most people associate segregation with the 1950’s and 60’s, the 1980’s and 90’s were filled with just as many battles for Cheryl. It was the age of the Americans With Disabilities Act, but Cheryl was still continuously denied access to life. She fought for both the right to attend a local preschool as well as her neighborhood elementary school, which contained 32 steps down to the playground. An avid horseback rider, Cheryl was also almost refused the right to attend a local horseback riding day camp.
Besides all of the adversity Cheryl has faced in her life she has been able to triumph over it all. Cheryl endured eight reconstructive operations on her legs during her childhood which resulted in her having to relearn how to walk four times. Through all of this, Cheryl, whose parents were told would never amount to anything, remained an honor student in school. She attained her associates degree in psychology through Montgomery College’s Scholars Program and then finished her bachelor’s degree through Hofstra University’s Program for the Higher Education of the Disabled (P.H.E.D). Cheryl later received a master’s degree in social work at The University of California, Berkeley.
Through her advocacy for people with disabilities, Cheryl has made a significant impact on the education of mainstreamed disabled students. Cheryl started lobbying local disabled rights organizations in college. Since then she has been interviewed by many media giants, such as NBC’s Today Show, Good Morning America, and The New York Times. The Cheryl *Censored* Education Act is a Federal education bill aimed at setting a national standard for the education of students like her. It is currently being reviewed by the House Education Committee.
Cheryl lives in the suburbs of St. Paul, MN, with her husband Matt of twelve years and three adopted special needs children, April, May, and June, ages 9, 8, and 6, whom she has had since infancy. She has two dogs, Eloise, and Puck; a cat, Mizzy; and a horse, Apple Blossom. Cheryl and Apple Blossom are in training for the 2028 summer Paralympic Games in Rome, Italy. They have won many ribbons for dressage in both local and national disabled riding shows. When not in training, working in the hospital, or lobbying Congress, Cheryl enjoys shopping, running 5ks for charity, and working as her synagogue's high school youth group advisor.