Rarely does an independent, non-profit health organization give so much back to the community it serves, but Cerebral Palsy of Louisiana certainly does! They provide free services to anyone with cerebral palsy throughout the state – services many of its clients critically need and otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Cerebral palsy is a condition that is brought on by damage to a child’s brain either during pregnancy, labor or shortly after birth. It is the most prevalent life-long disability in the United States. It can affect a person’s ability to communicate, hear, see, talk or even walk without some type of assistance.
Cerebral palsy is not a disease and should never be referred to as such – it never progress and can’t be transmitted. Many of cerebral palsy’s symptoms can be managed with therapy, training, wheelchairs, walkers and communication devices.
Cerebral Palsy of Louisiana assures that anyone living with cerebral palsy within the state has access to funds needed to help cover the cost of managing this condition. Anyone with cerebral palsy living in the state qualifies for the services provided regardless of financial situation or age. Each client enrolled with CP of LA receives up to $2,000 per year to help offset their treatment costs and can be used for just about anything.
CP of LA doesn’t duplicate services that clients may otherwise qualify for through another program, and never pays a client’s insurance deductible or anything covered by a client’s insurance. A doctor’s prescription is required if CP of LA will cover the cost no matter if it’s a wheelchair or swim therapy.
Requesting assistance requires a formal request and applicable documentation. The organization never caps the number of people it accepts into its program. One can simply call Cerebral Palsy of Louisiana’s office in Marrero at 1-800-375-8275 or by visiting their web site at cerebralpalsyla.com.
Under the direction of a volunteer board of directors, the organization, its staff and a network of parents, clients and volunteers from all over the state work to raise money throughout the year to help fund the many needs of its clients. One of their biggest fundraisers is the local telethon or telethons actually.
Did you know that CP of LA holds five telethons throughout the state annually? Did you know that the telethons held in Houma and Cut Off raise the largest amounts of money in the state?
“Our area raises roughly $75,000 to $100,000 with the telethon to help support Cerebral Palsy of Louisiana,” says Ashley Barrios, a board member with the organization. “That means that all the money raised here stays here in our community and our state,” she added.
Barrios has been a board member for nearly eight years. Her roots with the organization go much, much deeper.
“I’ve been involved with CP of LA for a long time…I worked the telethon as a kid,” she says. “I would bring the VIP phone panel some water, answer phones or anything I could to help. I even raised money too.”
The telethon is certainly a big money maker for the organization, but Barrios understands that most of that happens in advance.
“Just because you are sitting there on TV answering phones, doesn’t mean the money will come rolling in. You have to go out and get those pledges in advance,” she says. “I contact people that I know and raise as much money as I can before the telethon. I usually show up to the event with funds in my hand that I spent months collecting,” she says. ”Anything raised while answering phones at the telethon is a bonus,” she added.
This year’s telethon will be held August 23 and 24th at the Cut Off Youth Center. Much still needs to be done before the event like finding someone to represent South Lafourche as the face of CP of LA.
“Each year we choose a child to represent our group. This year, we still don’t yet have one yet,” says Barrios. “Posters, TV commercials and marketing materials – the poster child really is the face of the organization for South Lafourche for the entire year,” she says.
If you know of anyone, please call CP of LA’s office at 1-800-375-8275 and speak to Kathy Arceneaux.
“Anyone wishing to be a VIP, volunteer to answer phones or help in any way, should contact Kathy at the CP of LA office in advance,” says Barrios. “We really need VIPs. That is where the bulk of our money is raised…and it all stays in our community and our state,” she added.
Posted on Tue, July 8, 2014
by Marc Kimball, Contributing Writer