October-December 2019 Newsletter Cover Story

Remember moving out on your own for the first time?

Your support gives St. Ann Center clients that same exciting feeling of independence. Just ask Sarah Lapre.

“Some days, I hardly think about having cerebral palsy,” said the self-assured 33-year-old. Born with CP, she’s used a wheelchair for most of her life.

“I just tell myself I’m not letting anything that’s going on with my body get me down. I won’t let anything beat me.”

That hasn’t always been easy. For a time, before coming to St. Ann Center, Sarah did piecework in a vocational training program. The stress was physically taxing. “Around that time, my sister brought my niece and nephew to St. Ann Center for swimming lessons,” she said. “She took one step in the door and called to tell me, ‘You have to come here!’”

In the three years that she’s been a client at the Stein Campus, Sarah has participated in the center’s swimming, ceramics, jewelry-making and art programs and used massage services, as well. But one of the things she values most about her time at St. Ann Center is the confidence it’s given her.

“Here, people let me do what I need to do, handle what I can handle, and trust that if I need help, I’ll ask,” she said. “That freedom has shown me how to be more independent.” Sarah demonstrated just how capable she is a year ago, when she moved into her own apartment. “That was a huge step for me and my family,” she added.

The godmother of her young niece and nephew, Sarah enjoys the intergenerational environment at St. Ann Center. “When the kids ask about my chair, I just explain that, for me, the wheelchair is like my legs,” Sarah said. “There’s no need to be shy around me.”

Not one to shy away from anything, Sarah recently went zip-lining while on vacation and loved it. “I’ll try anything once,” she said, revealing her next extreme sport dream, “I really want to try bungee jumping.”

 

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